In November 2018, California was hit with two devastating wildfires, one in wealthy Malibu near Los Angeles, the other farther north in working-class Paradise. How these two very different communities experienced and reacted to these traumatic events forms the basis of director Walker’s penetrating investigation into the broader history of wildfires, and crucially, what’s causing them to become both more frequent and more destructive, in California and elsewhere. Not surprisingly, the problem largely comes down to people. We can take meaningful steps to address the issue, but are we willing to sacrifice short-term profits for long-term safety?
Walker’s “Bring Your Own Brigade” combines revealing data on how these fires happen-and how to mitigate them —with personal stories of loss and healing. The result is a film that’s both highly informative and at times, extremely moving. The story is, after all, a human one, as what we do on this planet causes these fires to happen. And this worsening problem can’t just be laid at the door of climate change; it’s also about how and where we plant our trees and build our houses. Don’t miss this essential doc on a subject we all need to understand better. Be advised that the film opens with some harrowing footage taken by survivors of the 2018 fires. Hang in there, it’s worth it!