Cohesive Strategy Workshop registration opens


In 2017 the first Cohesive Strategy Workshop in Reno, Nevada featured the theme of All Hands All Lands: Implementation Rooted in Science. It focused on the Cohesive Strategy — what it meant then and what early success looked like. Presentations and discussions emphasized the role of science in supporting the Cohesive Strategy and identified processes to ensure the integration of science in all planning for wildland fire management.

The Cohesive Strategy stands as the framework by which all stakeholders can address barriers and identify solutions for complex wildland fire issues.

The Cohesive Strategy Addendum Update [PDF] was released earlier this year and examines critical emphasis areas and implementation challenges that either were not addressed then or have surfaced in the 10 years since the original Cohesive Strategy framework.

This workshop will gather the collective voice of attendees to identify solutions and the issues that keep us from implementing the Cohesive Strategy at scale. The Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) will pursue these actions after the Workshop to help overcome identified barriers and support implementation of the Cohesive Strategy.

Registration for the 2024 Workshop in Atlantic City includes:

        • All on-site presentations and discussion, plus refreshments. There will be no virtual presentations.
        • Access to all workshop sessions (for full registration) or the session(s) you attend (for 1 or 2 days of registration).

Field Tour:  New Jersey Pine Barrens

Wednesday, September 18 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Field tour, transportation, and lunch included in your registration fee.

Pinelands Alliance

The New Jersey Pine Barrens field tour will highlight the cooperation of multiple agencies in New Jersey to support goals and themes of the Cohesive Strategy. The tour includes stops at Batsto Historic Village, the U.S. Forest Service Silas Little Experimental Forest, New Jersey Forest Fire Service Coyle Field Airbase, and the Roosevelt City Fire-Adapted Community and firebreak project.

Special IAWF Member and Student rates are available.
Early-bird discounts for full workshop registrations before August 15.

Cohesive Strategy workshop registration fees

⏩  Register here  ⏪ 

Scholarships available:

IAWF offers need-based travel and registration scholarships to attend the workshop, to provide opportunity for those who may not be able to attend because of the cost. We hope to increase participation of underrepresented communities and geographic areas for networking and peer learning.

Applications will be accepted continuously until the workshop; we will begin reviewing applications and making awards on June 15. It includes free registration and/or $500 USD for travel expenses.
⏩  Submit a scholarship application  ⏪

If you are selected, we will email your instructions on registering for the workshop, and you will receive travel reimbursement when you arrive at the workshop.

Questions about the workshop or
about registration?  CONTACT MIKEL:

workshop info



Workshop registration is
available online [HERE].


November 15 deadline for IAWF conference workshops

IAWF 7th fire behavior + fuels conferenceCall for Workshops at Boise — deadline is November 15

SEND YOUR PROPOSALS NOW:  Conference workshops will be scheduled for Monday, April 15 and Wednesday, April 17 at the 7th International Fire Behavior + Fuels Conference in Boise, Idaho.

Workshops provide a forum for researchers and other professionals working in wildland fire to discuss and exchange interests in fire. Conference workshops are an opportunity for technology transfer, ensuring that scientific and technological developments are accessible to a wider range of users who can use and develop them.

IAWF banner


Conference organizers are particularly interested in hosting technology-related workshops if you or your organization are working with new technology used in wildland fire, or using technology in new ways in fire. Workshops that were particularly well-received at previous conferences included one focused on Soil Moisture and Wildfire Prediction and another on Fire and Fuels Management Tools.

There will be a nominal registration fee for conference participants who attend workshops in April; this fee will cover the cost of meeting rooms, refreshments, and audio-visual equipment. Instructors will not be required to pay a fee.

The IAWF is now encouraging proposals for workshops. Please include in your proposal:

    • Workshop title
    • Names, affiliations, and emails of instructors
    • Short bio for each instructor, including qualifications related to the topic
    • Proposed duration (2, 4, 6 or 8 hours)
    • One-paragraph description of workshop
    • Minimum/maximum number of participants (if applicable)
    • Any special facility needs (e.g. LCD projector, computer lab, wifi)

7TH INTERNATIONAL FIRE BEHAVIOR + FUELS CONFERENCEEvaluation criteria include overall quality and the fit with respect to the conference topic: Fuel, fire and smoke: evolving to meet our climate challenge. 

The IAWF is interested in workshops that connect research and management. The workshops can also be used to discuss administrative techniques, challenges, and strategies, and may include roundtable brainstorming.

Deadline for proposals is November 15. Previous conferences are listed [HERE].


Questions? Contact Mikel Robinson at or (406)625-7059.

CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS: 7th Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference

The 7th Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference is scheduled for April 15–19, 2024 and will be held  simultaneously in Boise, Canberra, and Tralee, Ireland. Conference organizers are now calling for presentations, and each location is inviting presentation proposals.

The IAWF Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference provides a forum at which fire management experience and lessons learned are documented, and current work is showcased. Emerging research, innovation, and management techniques are shared, to develop integrated solutions to wildfire challenges.


This conference on three continents will showcase several countries’ development and integration of fire management policies and frameworks at national, regional, and local levels to address fire risks and build resilience.  The conference brings together policy makers, scientists, fire managers, and indigenous land stewards for a shared purpose and a different future living with fire.

DEADLINE extended to 31. October

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 the foremost global wildfire-focused association spanning 26+ countries. The IAWF was built on the belief that an understanding of this dynamic natural force is vital for natural resource management, for protecting the health, safety, and welfare of 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 link for people with shared interest in wildland fire and associated topics of this multifaceted community. To accomplish these goals, we create networks across sectors, fields, and disciplines to connect the wildfire community through multiple platforms including conferences, our website, the International Journal of Wildland Fire, Wildfire Magazine, and social media outlets.

Bill Gabbert’s roots in fire and route into fire journalism

by Chuck Bushey

Meriwether William “Bill” Gabbert II of Senatobia, Mississippi died peacefully on January 14, 2023 at age 75 from cancer.

Nobody that I know ever called him Meriwether. He shared that name with Meriwether Lewis, half of the renowned Lewis & Clark Expedition, and Meriwether is the name of the canyon mouth adjacent to Mann Gulch above the Gates of the Mountain Wilderness on Montana’s Missouri River.

Bill and his siblings grew up in the same small rural town south of Memphis where he was born in 1947. After high school he went on to Mississippi State University for Agriculture and Applied Science (commonly called Mississippi State University) in the central Mississippi community of Starkville. I can imagine that the change from Senatobia, population about 3200 persons, to the much larger community of Starkville (about 11,400 people at the time) and entering into studies at the university must have been a major eye-opening change for Bill.

After navigating university life, Bill graduated with his B.S. degree in Forestry. As we all do upon graduating, it was time for him to make decisions on which direction to head next with a budding career. Bill decided to join up with the U.S. Forest Service to further his forestry interests and education, so he headed West to California and soon added wildland fire to his forestry toolbox. In actuality he probably didn’t have much of a choice about entering into wildland fire; at that time during the 1970s all USFS employees were “firefighters” in some capacity. It was a requirement that everyone understood; this was an organization that had been born into fire. Bill obviously took quickly to the challenge, joining up with his first fire crew, the El Cariso Hotshots, in California. This crew was one of the very first hotshot crews, established just after World War II on the Trabuco District of the Cleveland National Forest.

Bill truly enjoyed his seasons with the hotshots and he frequently mentioned in later years his memories from these days. Those memories weren’t all fun – they included the fatalities the crew suffered during the 1959 Decker Fire and the 1966 Loop Fire – the latter was still a fresh and sore memory when Bill joined the crew.

Fire crews of all types are wonderful places to develop lifelong friendships as people move through the fire seasons. This was also a time during which Bill quickly learned the ins and outs of the structure and politics within the wildland fire community, knowledge that would serve him well later in life. He ended up with 20 years of service in the U.S. Forest Service, and then transferred to the National Park Service (NPS) for another 13 years. He eventually retired as the Fire Management Officer for the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota; he was responsible for fire management on seven National Parks in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Nebraska. But he wasn’t even close to being finished with his fire career — he was just changing direction.

It was while Bill was with the NPS that I first got to know him. Bill was the Planning Section Chief on Rick Gale’s Type 1 Team based out of West Yellowstone, Montana during the 1988 Yellowstone Campaign. Our paths crossed whenever I would visit the fire camp there where I had established a USFS Northern Region (R1) satellite “Fire Behavior Service Center.” Yellowstone for that fire season was part of the R1 fire suppression responsibilities – what we all thought would be a “once-in-a-career” fire season.

Bill was obviously a very detail-oriented individual, a necessary and valued trait in that key position.

He and I met up again when he joined the IAWF as a new Board Member in 2004. He remained in that position for a year before assuming responsibilities as the IAWF’s brand new Executive Director (ED). Bill was a firm believer in the mission of IAWF– to promote communication within the global wildland fire community. He was the ideal detail-focused person to take on the director role, quickly organizing all of the disparate directions the association was growing into. Bill made it clear from the beginning that the ED role was not going to be a long-term job for him, and after a year under my term as IAWF President in 2008 he submitted his resignation.

At this time social media and blogging for many of us were still relatively new internet experiences. Bill had the idea of using these newish technologies in communication to further his ideas (and ours) regarding wildland fire communications. He quickly had Wildfire Today up and running – an online news site of wildland fire – with news stories spanning the globe but definitely U.S.-centric. His news updates and features and images and opinion pieces spread, and in 2012 he spun off a companion website which he called Fire Aviation, because this was a topic in wildland fire news that was growing in breadth and importance.

Bill Gabbert visiting Oaxaca and helping out with hatchling sea turtles

From the beginning these sites were a labor of love for Bill Gabbert, and a few of his passions quickly came to the forefront in his journalism, including what he called “students of fire.” He also focused on smoke impacts on firefighter health, political considerations of the jobs in fire, and perhaps most important, firefighter safety. He developed a wide-ranging global audience relatively quickly, and now and then he’d add on other expert authors and editors to round out and support both sites. He befriended and kept up with fire photographers and writers and editors — and agency leaders — not only in our relatively close wildland fire community, but internationally. He also made many friends in the fire-interested peripheral “public” – the tens of thousands out there who are interested in and connected with fire, such as family members, media, researchers, international fire personnel, and the large group of people who are just curious about the topic and how it influences our lives.

Bill Gabbert wrote on these topics almost daily, in a style that was easily understandable for readers who commonly get lost in or don’t care to digest the typical U.S. bureaucratic fire news.

Bill knew where to go and who to talk with to find the details he wanted, the core of the issue no matter the issue – he understood what was being said and could interpret or translate (without pulling any punches) for his readers. He had no qualms about writing on controversial fire topics, such as when Donald Trump and other politicians wanted to launch 4th of July fireworks from the heads of the Presidential sculptures at Mount Rushmore. This was just one of the Parks that had been Bill’s responsibility, and it’s a location with loads of highly flammable vegetation, at risk for trash and debris from fireworks with a history of both.

Bill Gabbert and the poster for ONLY THE BRAVE.

I wouldn’t call these efforts “work” for Bill. He loved doing it and being busy and involved “in the thick” of the wildland fire business, long after his official career retirement. These pursuits and activities of his also afforded him the opportunity to indulge in some of his other passions – including photography, motorcycle riding, and meeting up now and then with fire friends, which occasionally included a dark beer or two. His knowledge and networking skills also opened doors for him as a “retired” fire guy to occasionally work on short teams for hurricanes and other disaster response assignments, as well as traveling to international wildland fire events.

A few years after he had his sites up and running he and I had a discussion about the future of the successful work he had accomplished. It was a light conversation on succession, a topic that all organizations must have. I thought Wildfire Today would eventually be an excellent addition to the collection of communication organs that IAWF had developed. Bill had all sorts of new ideas he wanted to try out with the site, so he wasn’t at that point yet really interested, and truthfully IAWF wasn’t really ready yet either.

But the idea stuck in the back of our minds over the years. When Bill learned last year that he was terminally ill, he and IAWF began some talks about how a merger might be managed. I’m pleased to say Bill was happy that the IAWF Board agreed to take on the responsibility of moving Wildfire Today and Fire Aviation into the future — and it is an honor for IAWF to serve in this role. I’m sure he will be whispering in our ears as we advance the work he began and passionately served, as wildland fire news and communications become more vital around the world.