Western Montana Fires 007.JPG

A converted DC-10 jumbo jet drops a load of retardant on the Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake on Wednesday. A parade of aircraft worked on the edges of the fire throughout the day.

TOM BAUER/Missoulian

Treesource, a new online magazine promoting “forest journalism for a sustainable future,” will host a public forum Tuesday, Oct. 24, on living with fire and the record-setting 2017 wildfire season.

Treesource president David Atkins said the publication fills a much-needed niche of providing in-depth reporting on forest issues, including wildlife, drinking water, carbon, wood products and a sustainable economy.

The new Montana-based online magazine recently received 501(c)(3) status from the IRS, officially designating it a tax exempt nonprofit publication. It has been live for about 6 months.

“We’ll provide the nuanced narratives so often missing in daily, hurry-up journalism by explaining why these complex and essential ecosystems are important to our everyday lives,” Atkins said. “Treesource approaches all of our work through the lens of sustainability, that is balancing environmental, economic and social facets of a story.”

To that end, Treesource will host a public forum, “2017 How to Live With Fire,” from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 24. It will be streamed live via Facebook, with an in-person audience at the University of Montana’s UC Theater. After brief presentations, there will be an hour of Q&A with the panel.

Panelists represent a broad range of experiences and expertise, including U.S. Forest Service fire scientist Colin Hardy, who leads a team of fire researchers; Missoula County air specialist Sarah Coefield, manager of the smoke management program; and University of Montana professors Phil Higuera, fire ecologist in the Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, and Bob Yokelson from the Chemistry Department, who studies smoke from fires and has found significantly important differences between wildfire smoke and controlled burns.

Panelists also include Greg Poncin, a National Type 1 incident commander who has decades of experience managing wildfires and as a land manager; Matt Arno, who had a forest restoration business involving both logging and controlled burns and is now the local government liaison with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation; Bill Avey, supervisor of the Helena/Lewis and Clark National Forests and formerly director of fire, aviation and air in the Northern Region of the USFS; Emily Rindal an insurance agent in Seeley Lake; and a representative of The Nature Conservancy.

Treesource launched with a monthlong focus on forests and municipal water supply, followed by articles on mass timber and green building. This summer, Treesource reporters covered stories about living with fire from New Jersey to Oregon, and forests and climate change. Read the latest stories on their website, and check out their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. You can email Treesource at dave@treesource.org.

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