Video Series - American Forest Fires: The Untold Story
The untold story of American forest fires
6 MINUTE READ
About three years ago, Amos Eno, my friend and colleague from Yarmouth, Maine called me to ask if I could help him assemble a list of people to be interviewed for a wildfire film series that was being produced by EarthX, a Dallas, Texas outfit.
I know Amos through his non-profit Land Conservation Assistance Network [LandCan]. Before founding LandCan, he was the Executive Director of the New England Forestry Foundation for many years and, before that, Executive Director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Director of Wildlife Programs for the National Audubon Society - and on and on.
LandCan helps forest landowners, farmers, ranchers - anyone - protect the use of their land in perpetuity with conservation easements that shield rural landscapes from urbanization. Amos sees easements as the best way to protect endangered species, wetlands, forests, farms, and ranches - all rural landscapes - from disruptive governance and environmental activists.
Amos was trying to help EarthX assemble a list of people qualified to talk about the West’s wildfire pandemic and its impact on rural landscapes and communities.
Mark Rey was also assisting in this process.
Mark and I got to know each other during his years as Vice President of Forest Resources for the American Forest and Paper Association and, subsequently, Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Conservation during the Bush II years.
I was pleased that Amos asked me to help. My list included about 25 people I knew - forest scientists, Forest Service retirees, lumbermen, county commissioners and rural community activists - that were qualified to accurately help tell the story of the urban War on the West that led us to our wildfire pandemic. In his insistent fashion, Amos’ then added my name to the interview list.
EarthX turns out to be a very interesting outfit. It was founded by Trammell S. Crow, the eccentric but visionary son of the late real estate mogul, Trammel Crow Sr. - whose holdings are substantial.
Trammell Jr. has always marched to his own drummer and EarthX is the manifestation of his obsession for marrying global entrepreneurship with ideas and products that can help soften mankind’s footprint on Earth. Before COVID, his annual conferences at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Center in Dallas routinely attracted 100,000 fellow travelers from around the world.
Last spring, I was one of five selected to make wildfire presentations at Kay Bailey, but not before I’d met Amos’ colleague, Ross Melinchuk, who is a respected expert in the world of wildlife conservation.
Ross’ career track includes leadership roles with the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Ducks Unlimited and now, Executive Director of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies [SEAFWA]. It was he who made the arrangements for my EarthX appearance. EarthX bought 100 copies of First, Put Out the Fire, to give to conference attendees.
While in Dallas, I was interviewed by a professional film crew hired by EarthX. They set up shop in a grove of southern pines that had been planted next to the conference center. The moderator asked me if I had any special questions, he wanted me to ask and I said, “No, let’s just start and see where this goes.”
It was interesting watching his sound and lights crews. They started with arms folded across their chests, which told me they figured I’d do lots of ranting and raving about “chopping down all the trees.” When I didn’t, their arms dropped to their sides, and they began to listen more carefully. Before we finished our 90-minute interview, they were fully engaged. It was lots of fun.
New Jersey forester, Bob Williams, another great friend and colleague was interviewed next. He was also an EarthX conference panelist. I have no idea how many of our books Bob has purchased and given away over the last two years, but he champions us whenever he can. In turn, we helped him promote a New York City park forestry exhibit he was involved in that was designed by Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam Wall.
Evergreen Director, Phil Aune, was on my interview list and was an EarthX panelist on our second trip to Dallas last fall.
Phil is a Forest Service retiree who spent most of his career in California, which has become Ground Zero, in our wildfire crisis. He is a great friend and a walking encyclopedia where it concerns the ebb and flow of the Forest Service over the years since the 1990 spotted owl listing.
Nadine Bailey, is an Evergreen director and a rural grass roots activist since 1986. Amongst the many hats she wears, she is the Chief Operations Officer at - Family Water Alliance - in Anderson, California. Nadine’s interview truly drove the message in the first video. Her testimony regarding the need for wildfire management mitigation is spot on - scientifically sound and heartfelt.
The result of all our work on EarthX’s American Forest Fires: the Untold Story, is a tour de force edited by Matt Spradlin.
Matt is a delightfully talented film editor who miraculously consolidated about 40 hours of interviews into four episodes - that tell the true story of our pandemic in the West, a story that is only now making its way into the mainstream media. Nadine Bailey is featured in video 1 as is Mark Rey. Bob Williams is in videos 1 and 2. I am in videos 3 and 4.
Remember to subscribe while you are there and take a look at our other videos. Let us know what you think!
All of us who were involved in these films hope you enjoy them and that you will share the links with others in your world. We are making progress in the long battle to restore wildfire’s natural role in western national forests, but we have a long way to go and a short time to get there.
EarthX represents a new and unexpected foothold for the West’s beleaguered lumbermen - those who are trying to help the Forest Service meet its landscape restoration goals. It offers an added voice in the objective to save the forests in the West from unmitigated wildfire.
We hope to attend this year’s EarthX conference in Dallas in April. You can learn more at https://earthx.org/expo/
Onward we go,
How to view America’s Forests: The Untold Story:
Although we are key contributors to this video project - Evergreen does not own any distribution or viewing rights to this series.
To watch the full 4 video series (each run about 45 minutes) there are two options:
• If you or someone you know subscribes to Spectrum you can watch the series through the EarthX TV Channel https://www.earthxtv.com/us-schedule
You will need to find the channel number for your area or region.
FUBO also has distribution rights - the downside is that a year’s subscription is around $75.00. However, there is a free 7-day trial - so you have the option to sign up for the 7 day trial - watch the series in those 7 days - and then cancel.
If you are having difficulty viewing the series - please contact us - firstname.lastname@example.org - and we will try to help.