Written and narrated by Walter Gallacher
Photographed and produced by Steven G. Smith
Ever since we seized fire from nature at the dawn of our civilization, it has defined us. We have prided ourselves on our ability to control it and shape it to our needs. However, the same fire that fuels our internal combustion engines and powers our industry is overheating our planet. Earth’s rising temperature is stressing our forests and our wildlands and spawning catastrophic wildfires around the globe.
In our effort to tame fire, it seems we have made it more feral. Rising spring and summer temperatures in the West have created a fire season that lasts ten weeks longer than in the 1970’s and results in larger and more frequent blazes.
These new blazes, known as “mega-fires”, are erupting at a rate seven times greater each year in the past decade and are burning upward of 10,000 acres and sterilizing the earth with their intensity.
Utilizing powerful images of these mega-fires, this film reflects on our relationship with fire, past and present, and asks how fire will define our future.
Originally, this project included video footage; this version that won awards at the Los Angeles New Media Film Festival was dedicated to the power of the still photographs.