In a Time of Change: The Art of Fire

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A poster from the art show

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Quick Facts


A Call to Action
Action Item:
Arts Afire
Year Accomplished:

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 that opened at the Bear Gallery, Alaska Centennial Center For the Arts, Fairbanks, Alaska August 3, 2012. The exhibit will display during gallery hours, noon-8 p.m. daily through Sept. 3.

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 brought 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.

On a warm and sunny late July 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, Regional Fire Ecologist Jennifer Barnes spoke about the role of fire and showed artists how to analyze plant succession post 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 is the debut exhibit in Fairbanks that celebrates a year spent creatively interpreting fire and fire management by the artists. The compelling art will also 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.

Learn more about the Alaska Fire Science Consortium and the 2012 fire art show and the NPS wildland fire management program in Alaska.