If you’re interested of exploring every aspect of the American West’s wildfires – and connecting their past to the present – look no further than Western Edition, a new podcast from Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. The host is the institute’s director, William Deverell.
The program’s first season is called “The West On Fire.” In it, Deverell looks “at the ways in which fire shaped and continues to shape the American West.”
In a post on KCET’s website, he wrote (with producers Elizabeth Logan and Jessica Kim):
“As the scale of fire increases exponentially, it challenges us to think differently, even fundamentally differently, about the region. We explore big questions like: How do fire patterns challenge conventional boundaries of counties and states across the West? How should fire fit into larger discussions about climate change, drought and post-fire flooding and debris flow? Does our growing understanding of fire’s impact change the way we divide up western historical periods? How do those living in the West experience fire as good versus catastrophic?
After a short prologue episode, so far, the weekly podcast has released “Black Firefighters in L.A.” and “Smokey Bear.”
Other yet-to-be-released episodes include one on the “solitary and reflective experience” of serving as a fire season lookout in the Gila National Forest; one on Indigenous practitioners who use fire as part of cultural practice and land stewardship; and one where doctors and activists discuss the dangers of smoke exposure.
Along with Elizabeth Logan and Jessica Kim, Western Edition is also produced by Avishay Artsy and Katie Dunham. Click here to learn more.