A reader’s perspective on making a difference with our forests.
You are sitting in your house (of course reading a fantastic story) and you start to feel warm. An overwhelming heat starts making you sweat. What could be wrong you ask. You look around and you can tell that it isn’t as easy to look across the room anymore. It’s almost as if the air has changed and is thicker, darker, stinkier. That’s strange you think and you decide to explore a little bit more by walking outside. When you get to the curb a fire truck pulls up and a firefighter steps down hands on hips and stares at your house. You turn and look as well and now see yellow flames bouncing along the roof line.
(I’m going to make you a woman for this story) The firefighter turns to you and says, “Ma’am your house is on fire.”
You look at the house and again see the flames, you can smell the smoke, and you can even feel the heat. “No it’s not.” You reply to the firefighter.
“Trust me Ma’am, I’m a specialist in this area. I’ve gone to school. I’ve worked in this field. I’ve done the work. Your house is on fire.”
Do you believe this firefighter? You haven’t gone to the same school, worked in this field and done the work. Should you believe that the house is really on fire because someone claiming to be an expert says it is? If you believe that your house is really on fire then the possibility that it will burn completely to the ground and you won’t have anything other than what you wearing will be real. As you are pondering this, another firetruck pulls up and a second firefighter jumps down.
“This house is on fire.” The new firefighter calls out. “Should we put it out?”
Both firefighters look at you, and you in turn look back at your house. This is the house that you intended to leave to your children (in this story you have children). In fact your oldest child is expecting their first child and you are so excited that you will have a grandchild. Maybe even your grandchild will live in this house. If only what these firefighters were saying wasn’t true!
“Ma’am,” a third firefighter has arrived, “if we start working on saving your house now, all will not be lost. Do you want to try to save your house?” You think about the insurance you meant to purchase and realize it’s too late to buy it now.
At this point, it would be utterly ridiculous to not say, “yes. My house is on fire because these experienced, knowledgeable, experts in the field are saying it is.” In fact you should also be saying, “Please! Let’s do whatever we can to save my house! I don’t have another one and I need to save as much as I can!”
This is the same idea that Greta Thunberg continues to convey in her speeches. A young woman who has done the research and found that the experts in the field of climate control actually do know what they are saying and we should listen to them. She is an amazing young woman who has been invited to speak to the UN among other places. In fact in several of her speeches she says, “our house is on fire.” We need to put out this fire because the house that is on fire is the planet Earth and unlike our scenario above there is no option to move in with family until the house is rebuilt. We need to intervene NOW to put out the fire on our home so that we can leave it for our children and our children’s children. Sure in the huge, big picture we can wait for the politicians to intervene and make the necessary changes but that is the same as us standing on the street with the experts telling us, our house is burning down and not doing anything about it. Just because we hope it isn’t true is not going to make it true. Let’s start now. Today. As soon as you are done reading this post.
And how do we do that? It’s all great to know that the experts say this but what are little things that you can do now? Well, I’m glad you asked! We are going to talk about our forests and all the trees that supply us with that oh so important oxygen and consume the carbon dioxide that we expel with each breath. At least this happens if the tree is alive. Recently I asked my firefighter friend when fire season in California ended. She actually laughed and said, fire season is now year round. It used to be summer into the fall, but now they are constant. Burning trees release carbon dioxide into the air. Doing the math, we are not only losing a source of oxygen we are contributing to the need for ways to remove even more carbon dioxide! (Sorry, I’ll admit I’m not good at math.) Logically we want to have MORE alive trees than harvested or worse, burning trees.
Let’s plant trees! If you can plant a deciduous tree or three strategically on the sunny side of your house you accomplish a couple of things. First, you create shade in the hot summer sun which can reduce air-conditioning costs by as much as 30 percent. Second, you planted a tree! A tree that is going to process out that carbon dioxide that is contributing to climate change and produce oxygen! Yay! Want to know a great source for trees? Check out the Arbor Day Foundation here and find lots of fun tree stuff. One of my favorite things is to buy their cards and send them to friends and family (check it out!). And did you know each state has an Arbor Day? A day where residents/people/humans are encouraged to plant a tree? What a great way to spend a day outside! What a great way to introduce children to nature! Overall, what a wonderful thing to do! Find out what your state’s day is here, as well as other super cool tree facts to help your state specifically.
And let’s make a nod to all those amazing women who are on the front line of fighting forest fires. Here are a couple of stories I think you might enjoy. First up, Lynn James’ Wildfire. In addition to having a gorgeous cover (I want to find this lake and spend at least a week there!) it has a great story about two very dedicated women fighting to protect the forests and lands they love. Of course they are coming at it from different perspectives which creates a fun enemies to lovers twist. And of course the challenge of a fire tearing through their area creating damaging impacts on all that they love.
Next up, Radclyffe’s FireStorm. This is part of her first responder series so you know it is going to be packed with action, strong women doing kick a$$ jobs, and romance. Ice and Jac aren’t the most amenable to start but the pressure of creating trust and teamwork puts them in situations where they recognize they are definitely stronger together than working independently. I think one of my favorite things about this story is when Jac is on her training run. The reader gets to experience the training, dedication, determination and decisions that are made while being miles into the backcountry with help possibly hours away. I like to hike a lot but I can’t imagine breaking into a trot with my daypack on, much less a fully loaded backpacking and expected to run with purpose! Smoke Jumpers are kick a$$!
And last up from my collection is Kim Baldwin’s Force of Nature. As many of Kim Baldwin’s novels do, the setting is a huge component of the story and this being set in Michigan claimed the same. The reader was then thoroughly entertained by two wonderful characters who just happened to be volunteer fire fighters! Should I just end there? The romance was fun, but what I really enjoy about Kim Baldwin’s story is her ability to bring an action scene to life. And her use of the scenery/setting. So grab a cup of Earl Gray tea (you’ll know why when you start reading) and cozy up o the couch!
Well that’s my collection. What are some amazing LesFic forest firefighter stories in your collection? I know there are more, and those women out there doing what they do to keep our forests safe and under control are rock stars! If you know anyone who is, please let them know that I think they are awesome! Alright all you wonderful readers out there- let me hear from you!