Elemental: Reimagine Wildfire
Can homes, communities, healthy forests, and fire coexist? In the wake of destructive fires across the nation, Elemental takes an important look at discovering how we can all reimagine our relationship with wildfire and keep our homes and communities safe.
ABOUT THE FILM
Filmed across the West Elemental: Reimagine Wildfire takes viewers on a journey with the top experts in the nation to better understand fire. The film follows the harrowing escape from Paradise, California as the town ignited from wind-driven embers and burned within a few hours of the fire's start. In the wake of destructive fires across the nation, the film focuses on how we can all reimagine our relationship with wildfire and keep our homes and communities safe. The solutions are now timelier and more urgent than ever.
We learn how Native Americans employ fire, benefitting nature and increasing community safety, as they have for thousands of years. We follow researchers studying the effects of climate on forests and the role forests play in storing vast amounts of carbon. We listen to survivors of deadly fires, underscoring the importance of this quest.
Elemental: Reimagine Wildfire
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Founder and principal of Balance Media, a video production company producing commercial, non-profit, and television media. I work with and direct the Balance team as a DP, camera operator and producer/director. I love documenting earth's most beautiful and most vulnerable moments and places as well as meeting goals for organizations needing to use video as a communication tool.
“I am deeply committed to changing the national conversation around wildfire.”
My first exposure to wildland fire was when I was a sophomore in college working on a student film nearly 20 years ago. The Biscuit fire burned across half a million acres in Southern Oregon, and we covered the controversy, science, and politics at play during and after the fire. The Bush administration proposed the largest timber sale in modern history, and a big fight ensued. A group of scientists led by Daniel Donato published a paper in Science magazine and they were attacked by other professors at their school. Our team grappled with the complex debate around fire and worked with scientists, advocates, and local citizens to capture the story.
More than a decade later, the Eagle Creek fire ignited the Columbia River Gorge, a scenic area just a half hour from my home. As the fire burned, legislation was proposed that would allow clear-cut logging in the forests after the fire. The community was shocked and angry. People were searching for answers, and I noticed that people were sharing my nearly two-decade-old student film - I was taken aback. Was it possible that little to nothing else was available to communicate this message?
As the rains came and put the fire out, I took to the air with an expert scientist to assess the burn. I created a short film about the fire that has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people and has influenced the reporting and response.
For the last four years, I have dedicated myself to visiting burned landscapes and communities destroyed by fire. I am deeply committed to changing the national conversation around wildfire. I have visited with scientists, investigators, and firefighters and they have told me again and again that we can have healthy forests and safe communities, and that we can prepare for and adapt to fire.
Aaron Keuter, Animator
Ryan Walsh, Animator
Annie Jeeves, Publicist