Take a step back in time with a visual history of wildfire in the region when Forest Fire, a free exhibition about living with fire in the Sierra Nevada, opens at the Truckee Community Recreation Center on Dec. 10 and runs through June 2022. Wildfire is a fact of life here in the Sierra Nevada. Although fire is nothing new, the numbers and severities of forest fires are growing each year — more than 7,000 fires have burned so far this year alone in the state of California — making this exhibit increasingly timely and relevant.

“Forest Fire shows us that at the core of science is creativity and that there are solutions to the ever-increasing effects of climate change,” Nevada County Arts Council executive director Eliza Tudor said in a press release announcing the exhibit. “Through the work of our artists, our exhibition gives voice to real solutions from the science community, industry, federal, state, and local fire and water agencies, and our tribal populations. We invite the public to join us for this conversation while ‘living’ the history and future of our forests in a deeply visceral and beautiful way.”

Visitors will experience a visual representation of the past 13,000 years of wildfire history within the region as they wander through a simulated forest. This immersive exhibit will explore the surprising and essential role of humans within the realm of wildfire while learning about the historic relationship between fire and the Sierra Nevada. The journey through time will be told through the works of 18 artists and writers. Learn about the effects we, as people, have on the forests, our watersheds, and our own health while also envisioning the future of our forests.

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“Forest Fire was born from our desire as artists to engage climate change head on,” said Heather Llewellyn of Llewellyn Studio. “What could we do to serve our community in facing the coming challenges? What could we do to help our community figure out what to do about catastrophic fire and water insecurity?” 

She and husband, Michael Llewellyn, comprise Forest Fire’s curator and producer team. “We hope that viewers take away a common understanding of the forest ecology, its relationship to fire, and the human role within that relationship,” Michael said. “We hope they will find ways to care for the forest that gives so much to us and is so critical in slowing climate change.”

Acknowledging the important role of local tribal populations, Heather added, “We are deeply grateful for the time and patience granted to us by members from the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, the Nisenan People of the Nevada City Rancheria, the Mountain Maidu, and the North Fork Mono Tribe in helping us to understand tribal cultural perspectives and the challenges in incorporating traditional tribal practices into federally mandated land management regulations.”

Info: opening ceremony Dec. 10, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.; donations welcome, nevadacountyarts.org/forestfire; forestandfire.org

~ Juliana Demarest/Moonshine Ink

TOTAL IMMERSION: This model represents the layout of a new immersive exhibit visitors can walk through highlighting 13,000 years of wildfire in the Sierra Nevada in Forest Fire, opening Dec. 10 at the Truckee Community Recreation Center. Courtesy photo

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