Fuel, fire and smoke: Evolving to meet our climate challenge

IAWF conferenceWildfires have become an increasing challenge to humanity, the ecosystem, and the atmosphere we depend on. Responding to larger and more destructive wildfires and protecting against their climate impacts is challenging; understanding fire behavior and our responses is critical.

The 7th International Fire Behaviour and Fuels Conference is a forum in which fire management experience is documented, current work is showcased, and emerging research is shared as we together develop solutions to these challenges.

This conference on three continents brings together countries in three areas of the world to develop fire policies at national, regional– to learn from others how they address fire risks and build resilience. The conference unites policymakers, scientists, managers, and indigenous land stewards for a shared purpose in  living with fire.

The 7th International Fire Behaviour and Fuels Conference hosts events on three continents, highlighting a range of experience from different countries to develop fire management policies in facing risk and building resilience.

The conference will bring together policymakers, scientists, fire managers, and Indigenous land stewards, and more for a shared purpose of creating a future where we can live with fire. Join us for an authentic conversation on managing fires and creating a sustainable future.

Presenters and speakers this year include Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell, Dr. Dean Yibarbuk, Dr. Lachlan McCaw, Prof. Nerilie Abram, Prof. Sarah Legge, Dr. Dan Pronk, Katie Lighthall, Dr. Mark Finney, Dr. Mark Parrington, Dr. Joseph Wilkins, Edward Alexander,and Dr. Conceicao Colaco. All conference registrants at any of the three locations will receive access to recordings of each presentation.

Workshops: Our interactive workshops are educational and feature a range of topics to choose from. You can learn new skills and connect with experts in their fields.

Field Tours: Each location has scheduled a collection of field trip opportunities. Field tours provide hands-on learning options  from exploring nature to sharing history and culture. Select your trip when you register.

Exhibitors: Our exhibition hosts a range of displays and demos. You will learn more about the latest products and services in fire science and management. We look forward to seeing you there!

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The International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) professional association committed to a non-partisan approach for uniting the global wildland fire community. We were formed in 1990 as a global professional membership association. For 30 years IAWF has grown from a fledgling organization to a global member-focused association spanning 26+ countries. The IAWF was formed to promote a better understanding of wildland fire and built on the belief that an understanding of this dynamic natural force is vital for natural resource management, protecting the health, safety, and welfare of people including firefighters and the public, and for harmonious interactions between people and their environment. IAWF is dedicated to communicating with the entire wildland fire community and providing a global linkage for people with shared interest in wildland fire and all of the associated topics of this multifaceted community. To accomplish these goals, we convene and create networks across sectors, fields, and disciplines to connect the wildfire community through multiple platforms, through which we communicate — including conferences, our website, the premier academic journal in our field (International Journal of Wildland Fire), a popular-oriented magazine (Wildfire) and via social media outlets.

Fire Continuum Conference begins at Missoula

Above: Vicki Christiansen, interim Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, addresses the participants at the Fire Continuum conference in Missoula, May 21, 2018.

A fire conference with an unusual name began Monday in Missoula. The “Fire Continuum Conference” is organized by the International Association of Wildland Fire and the Association for Fire Ecology with a theme of preparing for the future of wildland fire. It has drawn 655 participants from approximately 20 countries who are faced this week with the difficult task of choosing from 400 workshops, presentations, and field trips.fire continuum conference missoula

It kicked off Monday with a keynote address by Vicki Christiansen, the interim Chief of the U.S. Forest Service who talked about four “gnarly challenges”– drought, fuel buildup, growth in the wildland-urban interface, and fire exclusion compounded by climate change. It is not often that we hear someone from the present administration talk about climate change.

Ms. Christiansen said that since 1910 there have been more than 1,000 deaths on wildland fires and the fatality rate is rising, with almost a quarter of those, 255, having occurred in the last 15 years. According to the U.S Fire Administration, wildland firefighters, she said, “are killed at a rate six times higher than structural firefighters”.

She also refuted the “narrative that has formed for some that the Forest Service firefighting is not aggressive enough”. She said “We will commit firefighters only under conditions where they can actually have a chance of succeeding in protecting important values at risk”.

The conference wraps up Thursday. We will have a number of articles on Wildfire Today and Fire Aviation about the happenings in Missoula.

The video below is just to give you a quick look to see which organizations were exhibiting at the no host social event, the first night at the Fire Continuum Conference, May 21, 2018.

Below are photos of other speakers at the conference .

Alen Slijepcevic, President, International Association of Wildland Fire
Alen Slijepcevic, President, International Association of Wildland Fire
Chris Dicus, President, Association for Fire Ecology
Chris Dicus, President, Association for Fire Ecology
Mark Finney
Mark Finney, Research Forester, USDA Forest Service, Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory
Tom Zimmerm
Tom Zimmerman, immediate past President of the International Association of Wildland Fire
Dave Calkin
Dave Calkin, Research Forester, Human Dimensions Program, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station.

fire continuum conference missoula