Eric Forbes, Matthew Ross
Wildfire recovery: From science to art and from burn to bloom
Pairing science and art may seem like two opposites coming together, but at the From Burn to Bloom event in Fort Collins, Colorado on August 19, 2023, the combination was used to help communicate wildfire recovery concepts to the public. This innovative approach to communicating science partnered scientists with artists to help distill their science into interactive booths, activities, and displays.
Wildfire recovery is a major issue in Colorado, with the two largest fires in the state’s history (the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome Fire) burning over 400,000 acres in 2020. Even though these fires were three years ago, the path to recovery is just beginning. A recent article from the Coloradoan highlighted that the intensity of these fires has caused around half of that 400,000 acres burn scar to show little to zero regrowth.
The effects of wildfire go beyond the flames and can impact water quality, cause flooding, and harm wildlife. Research on these lasting impacts is being done by Colorado State University (CSU) organizations Radical Open Science Syndicate (ROSS) and Geospatial Centroid. These organizations want to go beyond sharing science with their fellow researchers and communicate their findings to the public in engaging ways, and that is why they developed the From Burn to Bloom event.
With over 300 people at the event, it was a significant success that informed the public in an uplifting fashion about wildfire recovery and how it impacts them while providing insights on how to help.