Westmont Reads Focuses on ‘The Big Burn’

The 2008 Tea Fire at Westmont (Ray Ford photo)

The 2008 Tea Fire at Westmont (Ray Ford photo)

Westmont hosts a panel discussion about wildfire as part of Westmont Reads Thursday, March 6, from 2-3 p.m. in Voskuyl Library. This year, the annual program focuses on the book “The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America” by Timothy Egan. The program includes a series of events, including book discussions and featured speakers at UC Santa Barbara and at public libraries in Santa Barbara and Montecito.

“The aim of Westmont Reads is to begin conversations that bring awareness to larger issues off campus and to encourage the exchange of ideas across disciplines and among the greater Santa Barbara community,” says Robin Lang, Westmont outreach and public services librarian. The panel includes Paul Willis, Westmont professor of English; Amanda Sparkman, Westmont assistant professor of biology; Troy Harris, Westmont assistant vice president for institutional resilience; Katherine Farhadian, landscape architect and graduate of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; and Chip Hickman, Montecito fire chief.

“This event will interest anyone living in the Montecito or Santa Barbara area who would like to learn more about how wildfires have affected our community and might still affect our community,” Lang says. “They’ll explore wildfire from many angles with panelists sharing perspectives in biology, poetry, risk management, environmental studies, and fire management.

The panel will focus on issues about wildfire in general, and though most of the panelists will have read “The Big Burn,” it was not a prerequisite.

Voskuyl Library gave away 80 free copies of the book in anticipation of the event. Please visit: http://libguides.westmont.edu/WestmontReads2014 or contact Robin Lang at (805) 565-6172 for more information.