Raging, out-of-control wildfires have become part of the new normal around the globe, leaving heartbreaking devastation and death in their wake. In California, this harsh reality was underscored on November 8, 2018, when several parts of the state were ablaze—the Camp Fire destroying most of the Northern California town of Paradise and the Woolsey Fire roaring through Malibu in the south. In the aftermath, residents face unthinkable loss. As they struggle to rebuild, they debate what could be done to prevent further tragedy.
Filmmaker Lucy Walker (The Crash Reel, 2013 Sundance Film Festival) wonders if it has to be this way. She digs into the surprising history and complex range of causes of uncontrolled fires—from climate change and ill-considered fire suppression policies to the influence of wealthy corporate interests. Her film reveals how responsibility continually gets shifted, with ordinary people left suffering the dangerous consequences. Bring Your Own Brigade cogently exposes our out-of-balance relationship with nature and explores what it will take to restore this delicate equilibrium.