In a Time of Change: The Art of Fire Exhibit

Vegetation and fire interpreted through art.
One of the art pieces in The Art of Fire Exhibit by Jennifer Moss.

The Art of Fire Exhibit, Alaska Region

Nine Alaskan artists unveiled works of art inspired by wildfire, fire management, and fire science at “In a Time of Change: The Art of Fire” exhibit, which opened at the Bear Gallery, Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts, Fairbanks, Alaska, on August 3, 2012. The exhibit displayed daily through September 3, 2012 and traveled to Anchorage for winter 2012-13.

In 2011 the Alaska Fire Science Consortium, a regional branch of a national fire science knowledge exchange network, the Bonanza Creek Long Term Ecological Research Station (LTER), and the Fairbanks Art Association partnered to bring artists, fire managers, and scientists together to generate excitement, dialogue, and a mutual understanding of the science behind fire and fire management in Alaska’s changing ecosystems. To ignite inspiration, artists who work with paint, photography, metal, wood, fiberglass, mixed media, and fiber attended four field trips led by managers and scientists. One trip included Denali National Park and Preserve.

Poster for The Art of Fire exhibit.
2012 Art of Fire poster.

On a warm and sunny late July 2011 day, artists, fire ecologists, wildland fire, and interpretive staff explored, studied, and artistically interpreted the 2002 Horseshoe Lake Fire near park headquarters. At the burn site, National Park Service Alaska Regional Fire Ecologist Jennifer Barnes spoke about the role of fire and showed artists how to analyze plant succession after a fire by measuring soil temperature depths, tree density, and dominant species. Throughout the day, Western Area Assistant Fire Management Officer Charlie Reynar led conversations about the complexities of fire: fire in Alaska, the fire triangle, vegetation and burn mosaics, climate change and its effects on fire, and park management strategies. Between the discussions, artists interpreted the information into field sketches.

The project’s finale was the exhibit debut in Fairbanks that celebrated the year that the artists spent creatively interpreting fire and fire management. The compelling art will promote an understanding and awareness of fire in Alaska.

"The Art of Fire" is part of a larger collaborative effort led by the LTER to engage arts, sciences, and humanities in artistic exchanges regarding environmental issues, particularly climate change. The project was funded by the Joint Fire Science Program.

You can learn more about the 2012 fire art show at the Alaska Fire Science Consortium website. Learn more about NPS wildland fire management in Alaska on the Alaska Wildland Fire website.

Contact: Jennifer Barnes, Alaska Region Fire Ecology Program
Email: e-mail us
Phone: (907) 455-0652

Last updated: December 14, 2017