Duo’s podcast traces twisty investigation of devastating fictional fire

Luciano Marano
Posted 11/22/20

The premise and format are ripped from the real world, but the story is all their own.

The Port Hadlock creative duo of Devon Buckham and Cameron Irving-Mills’ new serialized fiction podcast …

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Duo’s podcast traces twisty investigation of devastating fictional fire


The premise and format are ripped from the real world, but the story is all their own.

The Port Hadlock creative duo of Devon Buckham and Cameron Irving-Mills’ new serialized fiction podcast “Burning for Change” is the story of an investigative reporter tracking the true source of a devastating wildfire as told in the intimate interview format of shows like The New York Times’ “The Daily.” 

Ultimately, the story expands to include climate change, arson, shady corporations, and conspiracies — but it was all born in a quiet, rural bedroom-turned-studio. 

Buckham and Irving-Mills, brothers-in-law and friends, said their families were staying together during the recent quarantine and shutdown, which gave them plenty of time to collaborate. 

“This was our pandemic project,” Buckham said. 

Neither had any prior podcasting experience, or much knowledge of audio recording or editing either, but the program came together, both men agreed, rather easily.

“We decided to do the story as a podcast and it really kind of unfolded from there,” Buckham said. “We had a general idea of where we wanted to go and the first couple of episodes were individual [recording] sessions, but after Episode Four it was just one long take. We really kind of almost fleshed it out in the moment, so to speak.”

Little was written down or detailed before the mic was on, Irving-Mills agreed.

“It’s not really scripted,” he said. “Before we started recording the first few times, we just sort of talked about what maybe our endpoint would be every time and then let it unfold until then. 

“We just made sure that we sort of hit those half-hour marks of kind of cliffhanger moments or the thing that could hook people into another episode.”

“Burning for Change” follows an interviewer as he talks with an investigative journalist about his discoveries while looking into the actual source of a recent devastating wildfire and their broader implications. 

“The corner that we’ve kind of painted ourselves into with things like fire suppression, forest management and what those practices over the last 110, 120 years have really done to set us up on this precipice of I don’t know, something that we’ve never seen before,” Irving-Mills said. 

A theory eventually emerges that the fires are actually being set deliberately so as to force major financial interests and the insurance market to shift support toward initiatives and political candidates dedicated to fighting climate change. Despite that, however, the story’s authors said it should be read as more philosophical than aspirational.

“We don’t want it to be an instruction manual for somebody to go out and start fires,” Buckham said. “We don’t talk about how the fires are set or anything like that.”

Irving-Mills added, “We talk pretty specifically about the sort of conditions that would lead to a fire, like why it was set where it was. You could glean something off of that and use it maliciously but we definitely do say, ‘Do not do this!’” 

Only common knowledge or easily found facts were used in the narrative, the creators said, so as to avoid the prospect of potentially inspiring someone accidentally. 

Buckham and Irving-Mills released “Burning for Change” as the debut production of their new label Coyote Rock Casting, and hope to expand eventually into other podcasts and multimedia projects. 

“Our other project at the moment is related to hiking and sort of trail audio,” Irving-Mills explained. “It’s a group of three us who go out and hike favorite trails in the Olympics and record on the trail and come back and have a studio session where we come back, listen to what we’ve got, talk about the view here or the crazy rock there, tips and tricks to have a good time out there on the trail.” 

The still-untitled trail talk podcast has yet to be released, though it’s one of several shows dedicated to JeffCo and the surrounding region the duo have planned. 

“One of the things that we’re working toward is being able to set up a way to do podcasts that are pretty local-centric, bring in local experts on different subjects and really keeping it in this little sphere that we have here,” Buckham said. 

The initial response to their flagship offering has been appropriately red-hot. 

“Generally the response has been good, really positive,” Irving-Mills. “We’ve had over 300 people at least click on it or check it out.” 

Listeners can find the show through all typical podcast outlets by searching “Burning for Change” or “Coyote Rock Casting,” and about additional programming by visiting Coyote Rock Casting on Facebook. 

Each of the pilot series’ nine episodes range between 20 and 40 minutes in length and can be enjoyed piecemeal or as a binge. 

The appeal of podcasts and audiobooks as a form of entertainment in the digital age, where cumbersome equipment like CDs, cassette tapes and stereos or portable players are no longer necessary, are multifaceted, Buckham opined.

“It’s very easy to be inundated with imagery and lose so much of the information that’s trying to be conveyed to you, and so much of it is so subtly done with imagery, that going back to a book or an audiobook, it’s almost like a new experience for a lot of people,” he said. 

“I think especially during this pandemic there is a lot to retreat into, something that is different and as driven by the listener or reader and they have control over it. They get to control not only the pace at which they go but the images they conjure. It’s almost an intimate feel to it.” 


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