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Intro


THE FIRELINE PROJECT

A Division of The American Wildfire Experience

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Intro


THE FIRELINE PROJECT

A Division of The American Wildfire Experience

 

Fireline is a multimedia project about wildfire in the US. The project is designed to be a way for wildland firefighters to tell the story from their perspective, instead of being subjected to misrepresentation by the media. Three areas of need have been identified for an illumination of these ideas, including but not limited to: ecology and politics, the firefighter experience, and the future of wildfire management.

We encourage the submission of media in any form from members and family of the wildland fire community- photos, videos, opinion pieces, poetry, essays, drawings, paintings, anything that helps tell the story.

Photography courtesy of Roy Miller.

 
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Overview


The story of wildfire in the United States remains relatively untold. Misinformed media framing engenders public fear, causing millions of dollars in lost community revenues when wildland fires impact areas lacking resiliency measures. Public acceptance for prescribed and naturally occurring wildfire use and responsible policy change in the wildfire arena should be fostered. The stories of the individuals and the work they do, and the situations they face, should be told. The future of wildfire policy and tactics need to be thoroughly and effectively planned and managed. Fireline aims to bridge this gap.

Overview


The story of wildfire in the United States remains relatively untold. Misinformed media framing engenders public fear, causing millions of dollars in lost community revenues when wildland fires impact areas lacking resiliency measures. Public acceptance for prescribed and naturally occurring wildfire use and responsible policy change in the wildfire arena should be fostered. The stories of the individuals and the work they do, and the situations they face, should be told. The future of wildfire policy and tactics need to be thoroughly and effectively planned and managed. Fireline aims to bridge this gap.

The idea for Fireline began to take shape in 2014, when Roy Miller, Fireline's creator, was on the way to work another shift on the King Fire near Lake Tahoe. Since he started working on fire crews in the southwest almost 10 years ago, he has been struck by how relatively little the general public knows about wildfire, let alone how they are managed. One morning, he realized that he had never seen someone from the media out on the actual fire line. Someone needed to be out here with us, telling the story. Telling our story.

In 2015, Roy met up with Bethany Hannah, founder of The Smokey Generation, and together they made decision to merge the two projects.  Moving forward, they're excited to take Fireline to a whole new level, under the umbrella of the brand new organization, The American Wildfire Experience.  Good things are happening.  Stay tuned!    

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The Firefighter Experience


This project is designed to provide a sense of what it's like to be on the fireline and to experience wildland fire in ways the media can't provide, by interviewing firefighters of all experience levels and collecting embedded footage of actual fire situations.  

The Firefighter Experience


This project is designed to provide a sense of what it's like to be on the fireline and to experience wildland fire in ways the media can't provide, by interviewing firefighters of all experience levels and collecting embedded footage of actual fire situations.  

Ecologically, fire is a highly important forest health process that has generally followed the same spatial and temporal patterns for eons. Wildfires move throughout the country on a westward and northward trajectory as the fire season progresses, clearing downed logs and dense brush from the forest floor and creating healthy conditions that favor biodiversity and ecosystem services. 

Since European settlers started inhabiting North America, though, wildfire has been treated as invasion, and fought aggressively; unfortunately, the war metaphor still resonates today. Politically, wildfire management is treated as a budgetary issue, where lost human lives become a financial leveraging opportunity, rather than catalyzing concerted national wildfire protection efforts. This project will document actual fire situations by gathering embedded footage with various fire crews on operational missions, offering the public a glimpse of how wildfire is managed in the US.

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History and Politics


This project will describe how wildfire ‘works’, by giving an ecological, historical, and political account of wildfire processes and wildland firefighting operations in the United States.

History and Politics


This project will describe how wildfire ‘works’, by giving an ecological, historical, and political account of wildfire processes and wildland firefighting operations in the United States.

Every summer, wildfire crews around the nation suppress steadily intensifying large-scale severe fires for minimal pay, and without benefits for seasonal workers. Policies once made to protect a westward expanding citizenry are now the elephant in the room for many forest communities. Public and firefighter safety is jeopardized as climate change influences align with convoluted land management practices to create the largest immediate public safety risk many of our western communities face. This project seeks to explore those key links, how and why current systems are in place, and what opportunities for change are presented by our current approach to wildfire management.

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Future


The lessons we have learned in the last decade need to reflect how wildfires will be fought in the US in the future. The Fireline Project looks forward to exploring, clarifying, and sharing these lessons so that we can move forward in innovative and progressive ways.

Future


The lessons we have learned in the last decade need to reflect how wildfires will be fought in the US in the future. The Fireline Project looks forward to exploring, clarifying, and sharing these lessons so that we can move forward in innovative and progressive ways.

How can we adapt to the urgency of the situations we face due to current forest health conditions and climate change? Why do we still place the burden of risk on these young men and women and their families, instead of placing it on policymakers to collectively enact innovative and responsible wildfire management policy measures for financing forest restoration and new research and development?

We have the capacity to make wildland fire management a much, much safer endeavor. We have complex machinery and advanced computer models that are getting better every day at helping fire managers restore forests to healthy conditions and forecast future fire weather scenarios. This project will showcase the technology and how it can be used to improve our current and future management paradigm.