Most people who have lived in the US or Canada in the last 70 years will make the link between this essay's title and the friendly US Forest Services mascot, Smokey the Bear. Smokey originated in the US in the 1940s and has been licensed in Canada since 1979. While the campaign has, and continues to be successful in educating the public about preventing human-caused wildfire, it has also successfully instilled an innate sense of danger in our collective psyches. Perhaps rightfully so. Fires are scary and unpredictable, especially in recent years at home in BC and around the globe.
However, viewing fires as only negative would be doing a disservice to the essential role that wildfire plays in maintaining the health of our forests.
So how do we learn to live symbiotically with the forests, allowing them to burn when needed while preserving our safety? This essay explores our complicated, and at times emotional relationship with the forests around us. Hear stories of individuals’ experiences with fire in their communities and how some have managed to shift their perspective.
We invite all visitors to the exhibit to take this opportunity to contribute their own story or experience with wildfires to become part of this growing dialogue.
More to come...