“Indigenous fire means Indigenous lifestyle,” – Ron Reed, Ceremonial Leader, Karuk Tribe.
Cultural burning has long been an integral practice, including in Humboldt County where the Karuk tribe resides. Indigenous people have used “good fire” to prevent the devastation of wildfires. Ron Reed has witnessed the damage that high-severity fires can cause to a landscape when not managed appropriately. The Karuk tribe knows how important it is to pass down knowledge and information of fire management to the next generation to ensure ecosystems and communities thrive and co-exist with fire, for all of the ecological and cultural benefits it yields.
BBC Storyworks recently produced for us a film that highlights this fundamental idea. The film shines a light on the cultural and traditional fire stewardship practices used in preventing and fighting extreme wildfires in Northern California.
The film is part of a larger series, The Climate and Us, which explores the inextricable link between ecological wellbeing and human health.
Fire is an essential element within many landscapes, including those in Northern California. For their long-term integrity, fire needs to be able to retain its integral function.
The Moore Foundation’s Wildfire Resilience Initiative aims to support a transformation in the role that fire plays and is perceived to play in Western North America, from an unwanted, destructive threat to this essential, integral element of our landscapes.
“The knowledge and expertise in fire management and prescribed fire that the Karuk Tribe hold, and that they offer in this film, are crucial to being able to maintain healthy ecosystems and mitigate destructive fire.”
This film was produced for the Moore Foundation by BBC StoryWorks Commercial Productions (the commercial content division of BBC Global News). It is part of The Climate and Us, a series that looks at the global race against the climate crisis, including the resilient communities that are adapting to our warming world, the interconnectedness of humanity and the climate crisis, what it means for our health, and some of the “win-win” solutions working towards healing people and the planet.