Living With Fire has arrived
It’s taken us a while, but I’m pleased and proud to say that our long-planned Living With Fire special publication is included in this week’s Methow Valley News — almost two years to the day that its thematic predecessor, Trial by Fire, was published.
Trial by Fire chronicled the environmental, economic and emotional damage caused by the 2014 wildfires that raged around the Methow Valley. The 100-page publication covered the full range of issues with detail, insight and perspective; offered excellent photography and graphics; and included intensely personal stories about how lives, families and properties were affected by fires and floods. It was a popular magazine in the Methow Valley and beyond.
After the further devastation the valley suffered in 2015 — including the loss of three firefighters — we decided that a follow-up magazine was called for and began planning for a December 2015 publication date.
We were able to begin working in that direction thanks to a wonderfully generous grant from the Moccasin Lake Foundation, headed by Jim and Gaye Pigott of Moccasin Lake Ranch, to help underwrite the various (and substantial) production costs. Trial by Fire had been similarly underwritten by a grant from the Campion Foundation.
But then circumstances, logistics and a certain amount of serendipity intervened. We were frankly too weary put an all-out effort into another big project in late 2015. The community was a bit weary of hearing about it. We kept pushing back the publication date, and as we did a new mission evolved for Living With Fire. Rather than look backwards on the fires of 2014 and 2015, Living With Fire is essentially forward looking: hence the subtitle, “Resiliency and Recovery in the Methow Valley.” As I said in my introductory note to the new publication, “our focus is on recovery, rebuilding and preparedness … We want to help local residents and other people who care about the Methow Valley understand what has happened, how the community has responded, and what is being done to better prepare us for natural disasters.”
So it became clear that the best let’s-go-to-press goal would be late 2016, after we’ve had a couple of years and a relatively quiet summer to absorb and reflect on everything the valley had endured, and everything it is doing to move forward. And this week is about as late as it gets in 2016 for such a publication.
At 84 pages, Living With Fire is a bit smaller than Trial by Fire, but I think it’s every bit as valuable and informative for its intended purpose. Our News reporters and freelancers wrote about 35,000 words (I more or less counted them) of compelling stories, including some revisited personal tales of survival and recovery. Staff and local photographers contributed lots of powerful imagery. Designer Darla Hussey devoted untold hours to making the publication look great. Local advertisers lent their always-appreciated support.
We hope you’ll find Living With Fire informative and useful. As with Trial by Fire, we overprinted the magazine by several thousand copies so that they can be distributed — for free — to whoever would like them (we also have a few copies of Trial by Fire left, if you want the complete set). Contact the News office at (509) 997-7011 or email email@example.com.
If I were really good at this end-of-the-year column business, I’d be able to offer some insightful retrospection about the events of the past year and thoughtful speculation about the coming 12 months.
The truth is, I have no idea what to make of what happened in 2016, and I defy anyone to confidently predict what to expect in 2017 — or to be able to tell the expected developments from the unexpected when they happen. As for the great cosmic and karmic procession of human-caused and natural events, we’ll just have to wait (with bated breath, and hope) to see what happens.
So make a list of resolutions and follow us into 2017 with a quick step and sharp eye. It’s going to be an adventure.