Wildfire on hills reflected in water

Writing + Art About Wildfire

By Carly Lettero

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How can we honor fire as an ancient, rejuvenating element while also honoring all that has been lost to wildfire?

As the effects of climate change are felt around the world and an era of fire suppression comes to bear, wildfires are burning at an astonishing scale—from Algeria to Siberia, from the wetland marshes of the Brazilian Pantanal to the foothills of Athens, and from the shores of Lake Tahoe to central Queensland, Australia.

Earlier this year, Terrain.org partnered with the Spring Creek Project to host a lecture series called Lookout: Envisioning Futures with Wildfire that explored questions like:

  • What can we learn about transformation from fire’s destructive and creative force?
  • How should we live differently, both with each other and on the planet, in this era of wildfires?
  • How can we honor fire as an ancient, rejuvenating element while also honoring all that has been lost to wildfire?

In our call for submissions to the new series Lookout: Writing + Art about Wildfire, we invited writers and artists to use those questions and the lecture series as inspiration for their own work. We called on them to scan the horizon and share stories and artwork and ideas that might help us see fire, in all its nuance and paradox, with new eyes. 

Out of hundreds of submissions, we’ve selected 13 pieces to share with you, and they begin publishing this week, once per week. Our hope is that together, this collection of poetry, nonfiction, fiction, and art serves as an ongoing invitation to think about how we are all shaping this era of megafires—and how it is shaping us.

Lookout Schedule


In addition to the Terrain.org editors and Spring Creek Project staff, this series was supported by two brilliant interns, Hannah Markley and Riley Yuan. Thank you, Hannah and Riley.


Terrain.org is partnering with the Spring Creek Project on this series. The Spring Creek Project at Oregon State University brings together the practical wisdom of environmental science, the clarity of philosophy, and the transformational power of the written word and the arts to envision and inspire just and joyous relations with the planet and with one another. The organization hosts residencies and online and in-person events throughout the year.



Carly LetteroCarly Lettero directs the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word, where she develops programing that tries to respond to the most pressing environmental challenges of our times. She also manages and teaches in the MA in Environmental Arts and Humanities program at Oregon State University. She spends as much time as she can hiking and camping in the West with her two young children and husband. 
Header photo by Sippakorn Yamkasikorn, courtesy Pixabay.

Terrain.org is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.