Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Colorado Wildland Fire Conference

I haven't taken a lot of photos myself, but the conference is running an "Eventstream" for participants to pool their photos online in real time, and somebody posted this picture of me getting started.

I'll be heading home tomorrow after another half-day in Grand Junction, Colorado, at the Colorado Wildland Fire Conference, whose organizers asked me to deliver the opening keynote address this morning. The conference draws a couple hundred firefighting and fire mitigation professionals, mostly from Colorado but also throughout the western states. 

After a warm and moving introduction by conference organizer Schelly Olson, who lost her home in a wildfire, I began by saying: "I am not a wildfire expert. I am a wildfire survivor. Which makes me a KIND of an expert...." Went on to tell my fire story, show the KQED video, do some readings from the book, and distill some lessons learned from our fire that they might use in their own communities. If wildfire has hit anyplace harder than California the past few years, it's Colorado, and they appreciated a perspective they don't often hear.

I think it went very well.

The conference arranged for a small local independent bookstore, Out West Books, to order stock from Abrams, and shop owner Marya herself came to handle sales. I think we sold enough today, and maybe a few more tomorrow, to make it worth her trouble.

Marya selling books and me signing them.

To steal an old joke from Disneyland's Jungle Cruise, it's the BACK SIDE of a book signing!
I know you've always wondered.

I was a little intimidated coming to talk about fire to a roomful of fire professionals, but they couldn't be more welcoming. It's also my first plane flight and big in-person event in a loooong time, so that's weird.

It's a great group of people doing important work and I'm honored they invited me to their party.


Interesting article here about the Colorado Wildland Fire Conference by Dan West of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Interesting to me, anyway, because I didn't know there was any press there and Dan didn't talk to me. He didn't need to, and his piece quotes me accurately, it just strikes me odd that he didn't introduce himself. Back when I was a journalist, I would have! Also, the conference had a lot more going on than two keynote speakers, though I'm pleased to be featured. Anyway, this is where I and my faithful Red Shirt were on Wednesday.

Photo by Dan West, Daily Sentinel