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The Hollywood Theater in Portland will screen the documentary “Elemental: Reimagine Wildfire”

The Hollywood Theater in Portland will screen the documentary “Elemental: Reimagine Wildfire”


From protecting homes to scientific exploration, this new documentary examines how we live with wildfires

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) A new documentary produced in Oregon and the western United States asks people to re-examine their relationship with wildfires and what they can do to better protect their homes from the fire.

The movie is called Elemental: Reimagine Wildfire and it will be shown at Hollywood theater in Portland from Friday, May 26 to Thursday, June 1.

Production on the films began in 2017 when executive producer Ralph Bloemers and crew traveled to the Columbia River Gorge to document the Eagle Creek Fire and its aftermath.

The possibility of covering the wildfires widened after the team received funding from National Geographic to pursue a feature film and in the years after Eagle Creek, the wildfires kept coming.

From the 2018 Paradise Fire, which in the space of 8 hours burned down more than 18,000 homes, to the 2020 Oregon fires, which affected communities across Oregon and even on the coast , described Boemers.

The team thought they would end production in 2020, but as more catastrophic fires occurred throughout the season, they knew there was more to do. 2021 also brought the Dixie Fire and Caldor Fire to California, the Marshall Fire to Colorado, and the Bootleg Fire to Oregon.

The documentary has been extended by half an hour to include more disasters from those years.

Over the course of 5 years, Bloemers said the essence of the film changed from a story about wildfires to a story about living with wildfires, dealing with wildfires and hope for the future. ‘coming.

I think we had done our homework and spent enough time with the material to be able to put together a story, a documentary, a piece of journalism that convincingly conveyed what science was telling us and what we were learning from the community, says -he.

Researchers demonstrate household ignition in the documentary “Elemental: Reimagine Wildfire”. Credit: Sara Quinn/

Without giving too many details about the documentary, Bloemers said the film explores the ways people can keep their homes from igniting and burning, even in the most extreme conditions.

He said the film explains the limitations of firefighters and why they can’t always save homes or be everywhere a fire is burning.

Much of the documentary is also dedicated to research and includes interviews with the country’s top scientists who study forest and woodland management. Natives of the Karuk and Yurok tribes of Northern California also explain how their people have traditionally used controlled burns to prevent massive wildfires.

I think part of the purpose of this film is to show people who use fire for its benefits, Bloemers said.

Since the film production ended, he said more fires had been burning across the West and Bloemers knew there were more stories to tell about how these more recent disasters had affected people. He and the team are already thinking about future projects and what comes next.




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