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The Forest and the Fire

About This Book

This children’s book came about because of the experiences my daughters and I had working in the field of fire ecology.  Alison, my oldest daughter, spent many days of her childhood accompanying me into the field as I studied the effects of fire on the forest in Bandelier National Monument. The study began in 1975 when my daughter was 10 and continued for 37 years.  In 1977, I first experience the grief of loss of landscape when a small fire, named the La Mesa Fire, raced through my study area.  That grief quickly became a sense of awe when I experienced the recovery of the fire blackened forest.  This experience also shaped my daughter’s view of fire ecology as she went with me into the field and experienced both the grief of loss and the hope of renewal.

In 2000, the Cerro Grande Fire, raced through the community of Los Alamos leaving in its wake the loss of homes and a tree covered landscape.  Those days in the field helped Alison realize that nature would heal these scars. Her poetry was written as she grieved the loss of the landscape burned by the Cerro Grande Fire but realized the hope in renewal that begins immediately after the fire.

This children’s book illustrates the personal and emotional experiences when a fire that affects a community and a beloved landscape.  The book also illustrates the science of recovery of the landscape.  Illustrations and science were provided by Teralene Foxx, poetry by Alison Carlisi.

This book can be obtained from the Los Alamos Historical Society, Los Alamos, NM.


The loss of beautiful forest and mountain ecologies in itself a terrible tragedy as well, but the Forest and the Fire sheds a wonderfully hopeful light on an otherwise destructive experience.  The lovely, rhyming prose tell us that sometimes these events occur as a matter of course in the natural world, and that nature in her wisdom finds rebirth and recovery through the ashes and re-creates a new, productive and nurturing home for generations to follow.  The artwork is equally beautiful in conveying in images the parallel between a forest’s recover and the seasons of a human life.” –  Reserve Public Library 2012.