Readers meet for heated discussion on Land of Fire

·3 min read

Invermere Library hosts second Fire and Ice Series book club

Wildfire season is among us and on the heels of last month’s Firestory: A Learning Story, Wildsight and Invermere Public Library are hosting their second book club of two on climate change.

As a part of their continuing Fire & Ice series program, the second book club will be held at Invermere Library on Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m. All are invited to take part in conversations about wildfire and how it has impacted so many landscapes and waterways as those in attendance delve into The New Reality of Wildfire in the West by author Gary Ferguson.

“We chose the book mostly because lots of copies were available through the B.C. Interlibrary loan system, said book club organizer Baiba Morrow. “It allows interested people to access the book without having to buy one. We had nine people at our first book club. We're hoping for an even bigger gaggle — this time with a few representatives from the male species.”

Organizers are hoping that a male author and man’s general love for fire will entice a few more men to come out. Ferguson is a prolific non-fiction writer, with more than 20 published books about nature and the American West, including Hawks Rest: A Season in the Remote heart of Yellowstone, the first non-fiction title to win both the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for Nonfiction. In 2008, Ferguson was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the High Plains Book Festival— nine years before releasing Land on Fire.

“As with our previous book, looking at Land on Fire is a way to bring these important discussions closer to home as wildfires burn in all directions,” Morrow said. “This summer, though, it’s not just B.C. that’s in the news. There are fires in France, Portugal, Germany, and Algeria. The book club will open the discussion about our own concerns in the valley, how we are feeling and what we can do.”

Land on Fire and its book club discussion is meant to set the stage for Future of Fire, presented by Canadian science writer and educator Ed Struzik on Sept .17. Since people have inhabited forested land in Canada, wildfire and its effects have been a fact of life. Struzik digs into that long and complicated relationship that we as people have with fire in his new book Dark Days at Noon: The Future of Fire. Struzik will discuss many areas, ranging from Indigenous practices of controlled burns that helped with forests that were crucial for their long-term health, to the vast number of conflagrations set off by railways, even today.

We live in an age where climate change and wildfires and the impact they have are a growing concern. Those in attendance will learn lessons on how to better manage wildfires. For more information on either event, visit

Chadd Cawson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer