Fire Up: Embers of Awakening

Rialto Cinemas, Sebastopol

What does resilience to wildfire look like? The inspiring new documentary “Embers of Awakening: From Firestorms to Climate Health” creates a backdrop for a community discussion on how to approach this question. The film reveals personal stories of damage and recovery in Sonoma County and what we can change to create a path towards a safer world. Themes include the uncertainty of fire, increasing community bonds, misinformation, the multiple objectives for vegetation management, accepting fire as a part of our lives, and how to bring about societal change.

Stay with us after the film for a brief moderated panel discussion with regional thought leaders discussing local issues related to fire, resilience, and community action. A new sustainability pledge, which identifies the most impactful and positive personal actions we can take to create a thriving future, will be made available to audience members after the film and panel discussion, and you'll have a chance to win one of three prizes that will help you take the actions in the pledge. 


At this showing of Embers of Awakening, you will meet: 

  • Susan Gorin, 1st District Supervisor, County of Sonoma
  • Phyllis Rosenfield, Film Director and Producer; President, Listening for a Change 
  • Sashi Sabaratnam, Wildfire Vegetation Mitigation Program Manager, UC Cooperative Extension Sonoma
  • Caerleon Safford, Wildland Fire Grants and Projects, County of Sonoma - Permit Sonoma; Captain, Fort Ross Volunteer Fire Department; Fire Safe Sonoma 
  • Steven Swain, Environmental Horticulture Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension Marin & Sonoma
  • Erica Tom, Director, Native American Studies Department, Sonoma State University
  • Moderators from SSU's Center for Environmental Inquiry: Claudia Luke (Director), Chris Halle (Program Development), and Kerry Wininger (Outreach & Communication) 

This event is hosted by SSU's Center for Environmental Inquiry and Listening for a Change.


This special documentary screening and panel discussion explores how we as a community can both heal together from the trauma of repeated major fires; and work together to demand improved fire safety and climate health.

The event begins with a short welcome and viewing of the 75-minute film "Embers of Awakening: From Firestorms to Climate Healing," a locally produced documentary that explores wildfire resilience, and how to move from mega fires to improved climate health." Filmmakers center people affected by the now annual major fires in Sonoma County, and their response to regenerate home and community, and explore how we can create a path toward a safer and more interconnected world. The film also brings in climate and fire safety experts to discuss how we can adapt to these shifts and come together across our communities to work with the land and each other to thrive moving forward.

Following the film, we'll hold a 50-minute moderated panel discussion and Q&A with regional thought leaders, then introduce you to the newly unveiled SSU Sustainability Pledge, and pull three audience names to win one of three prizes related to diet, energy use and getting involved. Before leaving, you'll have a chance to connect one-on-one with the panelists in the lobby and learn more about Fire Up, Listening for a Change, and CEI, with concessions available for purchase. 

This public event is recommended for ages 16 and up. We encourage participation from government, tribal, academic, research, non-profit, and other local communities. The first 10 minutes of the film include images and stories from recent Sonoma County firestorms. We provide guidance to audience members wishing to avoid viewing this portion of the film.   

This event takes place at Rialto Cinemas, 6868 McKinley Street, Sebastopol, CA 95472. Please factor in time to park or consider taking public transportation or bicycling to this event.

COVID-19 Safety

Rialto Cinemas is committed to meeting or exceeding all CDC, state and local regulations, as well as the CinemaSafe expert-backed suggestions. All staff and patrons must provide proof of full vaccination or legal exemption upon entry, and wear suitable masks except when actively eating or drinking. Details about these and about other steps Rialto Cinemas is taking to protect the health of their patrons and staff can be found here. Do not attend if you test positive for COVID-19 or if you have any symptoms that may be indicative of COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated. 

How to Sign Up

See registration link below. Each participant should register separately. This event is free of charge.

About Fire Up and Center for Environmental Inquiry

This is the first event of a new annual "Fire Up Public Lecture Series." With this inaugural showing of Embers of Awakening, SSU is launching the Fire Up Collaborative, a pan-sector collaboration focused on addressing Sonoma County’s pressing challenges in fire resilience. The Fire Up Collaborative hosts public symposia to increase understanding of critical fire issues, convenes roundtables of stakeholders across all sectors of society to identify regional needs, and develops interdisciplinary research teams to undertake critical research needed by decision-makers to take effective action. Fire Up Steering Committee members include Sonoma State University, Sonoma Water, Pepperwood Foundation, Regional Climate Protection Authority, UCCE Marin, UCCE Sonoma, Permit Sonoma and Sonoma County Office of Resilience. 

Sonoma State University’s Center for Environmental Inquiry empowers university students to work with community members on the environmental challenges of the North Bay. Our mission is to create an engaged and environmentally ready society, one where all people have the skills to find solutions to the challenges facing our earth. SSU Preserves are open to everyone engaged in education or research. Reservations are required.

Admission Fees
Contact Email
Contact Phone
Contact Name
Kerry Wininger
Date & Time Registration Link
Saturday, May, 21, 2022, 10:30am to 1:00pm