El Jebel video producer needs help on possible Lake Christine Fire documentary
November 16, 2018
A midvalley videographer who was in the thick of the Lake Christine Fire in July is considering making a documentary of the event if he can enlist the public's help.
Barry Stevenson of Outside Adventure Media said the project will likely hinge on whether he can collect video of the chaotic evacuation of the El Jebel Mobile Home Park and surrounding areas on the night of July 4.
He's calling the prospective project, "Firefight for El Jebel."
Stevenson shot several hours of raw video starting the evening of July 3 when the fire blew up at the Basalt State Wildlife Area shooting range. He captured spectacular video and images when the fire topped a ridge above El Jebel and the wind drove the flames toward the mobile home park at dusk July 4. He also caught the only known image of hundreds of flares the firefighters shot to start a backfire to slow the advance of the wildfire.
Stevenson recalled Thursday that he was shooting video from the Eagle County building adjacent to Crown Mountain Park. He was standing next to the federal incident commanders who had arrived and were poised to take over firefighting the following day.
"They were just spectators at that point," he said. "They were absolutely convinced (the firefighters) were going to lose the town" because of the way the fire exploded when pushed by strong, easterly winds.
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From his vantage point that night, the mobile home park looked doomed. As it turned out, two homes at the edge of the mobile home park and one in Missouri Heights were destroyed. Firefighters from departments throughout the region teamed up to save the El Jebel area, in large part by using the flares.
"I don't think the community knows how close we came to being Paradise, California, here," Stevenson said, referring to the Northern California town that was obliterated this week by the Camp Fire.
Stevenson said he has been able to collect numerous videos from people who witnessed the fire that night. He's also collecting video from first responders. He hasn't had luck thus far finding videos of the civilians' scramble to safety.
"It's the evacuation I'm worried about," he said. "That's half of the story."
His vision of "Firefight for El Jebel" is to use video of the fire and the firefighting, the evacuation and interviews with key people who have compelling stories.
"I'm going to weave a bunch of stories together," he said.
Anyone with video, pictures and compelling stories is asked to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He views it as a community project.
"I'm just piecing it together," he said.
He envisions a 30- to 45-minute documentary that he would submit to film festivals. It will likely take a year to compile because it's a labor of love. He must continue to focus on his day job as a producer of videos for nonprofits and other clients. Stevenson said he will work on the documentary when he can.