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Stories of Fire:

A Pacific Northwest Climate Justice Atlas

Erin James, Jenn Ladino, Teresa Cavazos Cohn, Stacy Isenbarger, Sasha Michelle White & Leah Hampton

funded by Mellon Foundation Just Futures Inititative

2021 - present

Laura Ahola-Young's Mapping Oxygen

featured in GROUND TRUTHS.

Every word, every image, every memory of wildfire carries a story. A story of fire can engages deep emotions with place, community, and home. In the Pacific Northwest, wildfire experiences can overlap or contradict each other, complicating how we relate to our neighbors and to our changing landscape. Faced with so much complexity, we often simplify or suppress important stories. Traditional maps, media coverage, and even our personal conversations about wildfire can be limited or miss key connections. 


Stories of Fire is a community-sourced project that hopes to reimagine our shared wildfire story and future fire resilience. This project includes:  

Using storytelling, visual art, and unique, nontraditional maps from across the region, the Confluence Lab will seek a wide variety of voices as contributors to each part of the project, foregrounding social and environmental justice and traditionally underrepresented rural perspectives.


Confluence Lab members Erin James (English), Jennifer Ladino (English), Stacy Isenbarger (Art + Design), and Teresa Cohn (Human Geography), in partnership with local communities, are the primary leads on Stories of Fire. Research fellow Sasha Michelle White (Environmental Science) and our in-residence fellow, Leah Hampton also have key roles in this project.


Stories of Fire is one of a suite of projects under the umbrella of the University of Oregon’s Pacific Northwest Just Futures Institute for Racial and Climate Justice (Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, $4.52 million). The Institute is creating a regional network that works toward racial and climate justice through pedagogical and community engagement initiatives. 


Learn more about this project. 


Funding for this project made possible from generous grant from the Mellon Foundation’s “Just Futures” Initiative for the Pacific Northwest Just Futures Institute for Racial and Climate Justice, University of Oregon. 

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Lisa Cristinzo

Birch Bark is like Snake Skin

acrylic on wood panel, 36in x 48in, 2021

Stories of Fire
Online Exhibition Series

Organized into three parts, GROUND TRUTHS (Spring 2023), FUEL LOADING (Fall 2023) and SIGHTLINES (Winter 2024), these online exhibitions were loosely framed by a particular disciplinary lens— cartography, fire management and urban planning—and the range of ways artists express and explore parallel concerns.

Community Workshop:

Mapping Fire

Recovery in

Oregon's Rogue


In November 2022 the Confluence Lab partnered with Coalicion Fortaleza and Our Family Farms to lead a fire resiliency and map-making workshop in Oregon’s Rogue Valley. The 2020 Almeda Fire impacted the Rogue Valley/Jackson County area profoundly, and local nonprofit organizers invited a Confluence team to the area for an afternoon of inter-organizational reflection, information sharing, and map making.


The resulting maps of organizations and county resources were completed and digitized by a Confluence lab designer Megan Davis at the University of Idaho and given back to local Rogue Valley organizations to help with their future fire resiliency planning and messaging.

Read more news from this event.

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