Missoula, MT - By just about every measure, wildfires are getting bigger, hotter, and more devastating than we’ve ever seen before. But what all that fire means — and what to do about it — depends on who you ask.

Fireline, a new six-part audio series from Montana Public Radio and the UM College of Business explores the challenges wildfires pose to the West, the world and our way of life.

The podcast is hosted by Justin Angle, an associate professor at the UM College of Business, and is produced by Nick Mott of the Peabody Award-winning show Threshold, and Richest Hill, named one of The New Yorker's “must listen” podcasts of 2019.

Angle, who also hosts A New Angle podcast, got his introduction to wildfire after moving to Missoula in 2012. Smoke was choking the city and fires were forcing evacuations. The subsequent devastating wildfires across much of the West and the choking smoke now regularly blanketing communities from the mountains to the coast left an impression on him.

“I quickly realized wildfire was a part of living here,” Angle says. “As I spent time in wild spaces I saw landscapes changed by fire. I met firefighters, fire scientists, foresters and land mangers. I realized that Missoula is an epicenter for wildfire science, policy, history and firefighting apparatus. What’s happening here informs wildfire policy and practice across the country. I wanted to learn more about all this.”

Fireline traces the history of fire management and our complicated views on fire: regarded as both catastrophic and essential to landscapes we live on.

“Fire helped our species evolve,” says editor and producer Victor Yvellez. “It's been a part of our world for millions of years, and it's a part of the human soul. As the effects of climate change become more evident, fire will shape the future of life in the West.”

How have our views of fire shaped our expectations of safety, forest management and firefighting? Are people in the West prepared for the responsibility of living in the wildland urban interface? And what's our role in figuring out how to live with the system-wide challenges wildfires pose?

Learn more with Fireline, a new podcast coming March 9. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts or listen online at https://www.firelinepodcast.org

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