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Wildfires and Public Lands: Santa Barbara Reads Program Features Free Film Series

A series of films related to the current Santa Barbara Reads program will be screened at the Santa Barbara Public Library System’s Central Library on Tuesdays in February.

Santa Barbara Reads, in partnership with UCSB Reads, is the annual program that encourages the whole community to read and discuss a particular book. This year’s book is The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan, about the huge wildfires of 1910 and the establishment of the national forests, parks and other protected wildlands.

The films will be shown on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. in the Central Library’s Faulkner Gallery, 40 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

The film series starts Feb. 4 with Ordeal by Fire. Filmmaker George Sibley brings to life the period of the 1910 Big Burn wildfires in the Northwest, when people were learning to live with the ancient natural cycles of a harsh yet beautiful land. The fires were also the first big test of one of American's most profound political ideas: Could, and should, the federal government manage and protect America's natural resources?

On Feb. 11, local filmmaker Jennie Reinish will introduce her film, Behind the Lines: Fighting a Wildland Fire. Filmed during the 2007-08 Zaca and Gap fires in Santa Barbara County, Behind the Lines gives a look at what goes into fighting a large-scale wildfire. This film screened at the 2010 Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The following Tuesday, Feb. 18, The Greatest Good tells the story of the U.S. Forest Service and the public lands the agency manages. This documentary weaves historic footage and still photographs with interviews with historians, timber industry and environmental leaders, and Forest Service employees to illuminate the past one hundred years of accomplishments and controversies experienced while managing 191 million acres of America's land. Los Padres National Forest ranger will answer questions after the film.

The final film, on Feb. 25, will be the Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time. Produced in partnership between the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the Center for Humans and Nature and the U.S. Forest Service, Green Fire highlights legendary environmentalist Leopold’s extraordinary career, tracing how he shaped and influenced the modern environmental movement. He is considered the father of the national wilderness system, and a key figure in developing the fields of wildlife management, restoration ecology and sustainable agriculture. A Los Padres National Forest ranger will be on hand to discuss the film.

Other Santa Barbara Reads and UCSB Reads highlights are panel discussions featuring UCSB professors discussing The Big Burn at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12 at the Montecito Library, 1469 East Valley Road, and at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20 at the Central Library. The Los Padres National Forest will bring special children’s presentation to the branch libraries during February, with a visit from Smokey Bear.

More information is available at the Santa Barbara Public Library website, SBPLibrary.org. All library programs are free and open to the public.

— Christine Gallery represents the Santa Barbara Public Library System.


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