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Oregon collaborators launch comic book on wildfire awareness and prevention

An excerpt from 'Without Warning! Wildfire" from Dark Horse Comics.
An excerpt from 'Without Warning! Wildfire" from Dark Horse Comics.

Emergency awareness comes in many forms; a continuing partnership between an Oregon state office and a graphic novel publisher has created a comic book devoted to wildfires.

Dark Horse Comics has just released the book, titled “Without Warning! Wildfire.” It follows two friends, Meghan and Alexx, as they backpack leisurely through the wilderness. But disaster soon follows another couple’s carelessness with their campfire, leading to widescale destruction. Lessons shared include using fire responsibly, the importance of first aid, and checking weather conditions.

The front cover of 'Without Warning! Wildfires" by Dark Horse Comics.
The front cover of 'Without Warning! Wildfires" by Dark Horse Comics.

Althea Rizzo of the Oregon Office of Emergency Managementhelped write the comic. She told KLCC the medium can engage audiences on a level that agency PSAs and official news releases can’t.

"To put the reader into the position of being the hero," explained Rizzo. "You know, when you read a comic book, you kinda subconsciously put yourself into that place. So then young people can see themselves as being the hero and they're more likely to take a first aid class or to learn what to do in case of wildfire.”

“Without Warning! Wildfire” was preceded by two other Dark Horse comics, about tsunamisand earthquakes. They’re available on the OEM and Dark Horse websites, and on iOS and Android apps. It can also be found on Kindle, Comixology, Google Play and Apple Books.

All editions are available in English and Spanish.

Copyright @2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.