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.

County Cork fire brigades work through the night on gorse fires

On a windy Sunday on the west side of County Cork, Ireland, satellite hotspots were highlighting what firefighters were facing in person, with reports of nearly 100 fires breaking out in gorse and related fuels, beginning February 26 and burning into the next morning.

Burning gorse in Cashelfean, County Cork, Ireland. Photo: Cork County Council.
Burning gorse in Cashelfean, County Cork, Ireland. Photo: Cork County Council.

Significant nighttime fire growth in highly flammable gorse brush threatened a radar and aviation-control installation and involved six West Cork fire brigades and other resources, including the Irish Aviation Centre firefighters on Mount Gabriel.

Heat detection and burned area mapping from the Global Wildfire Information System highlights widespread fire ignitions on the West Cork peninsulas from Feb. 26-27, 2023.

The burning of vegetation from March 1 through August 31 is a violation of the Wildlife Acts, but a spokesperson for Cork County Council warned that intentionally set fires during last weekend’s winds threatened houses, a radar installation, livestock and wildlife, not to mention the risk to firefighters and the drawdown of resources for other emergencies.

Twitter correspondents also captured the flames.

For additional news reports, see https://www.rte.ie/news/regional/2023/0227/1359220-gorse-fires-cork/ and https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/munster/arid-41081189.html.

Along the west coast of the United States, gorse is a an invasive that also exhibits extreme fire behavior.

Large wildfires break out in Ireland

Wildfires in Mournes Mountains and Killarney National Park

7:16 p.m. EDT April 25, 2021

Windy weather has caused a number of vegetation fires to spread rapidly in Ireland.

Ireland fires map April 25, 2021
Ireland fires map April 25, 2021

Northern Ireland

One of the most visible wildfires is in Northern Ireland in the Mournes Mountains just south of Newcastle. After three days, firefighters have brought the Slieve Donard blaze under control after it burned an area “the size of 500 football pitches,” about 880 acres. The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said the fire is no longer considered a major incident.Mournes Fire

Coast Guard helicopters were used for gathering intelligence and transporting personnel.

The fire burned in gorse, a yellow-flowered spiny shrub, and heather, also a small shrub. More than 100 firefighters were assigned during the peak of activity.

Southern Ireland

Two fires have burned about one-third of Killarney National Park, approximately 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) are blackened according to an estimate by the park’s Chief Fire Officer.Killarney National Park fire

From the Irish Examiner on April 25, 2021:

“There are now signs that the fire will continue to blaze for a third night. Indeed, the Air Corps has been booked for tomorrow to help douse the flames from the air, taking water from lakes in the National Park.

” “The damage is horrendous,” Andrew Macilwraith, Chief Fire Officer, said. “Not only have some of the oldest oak trees in Ireland been destroyed but also the habits of thousands of animals have also been destroyed.”

“His officers were dealing with three fires this morning, and they are now dealing with two.

“The lower fire in a place called Oak Wood, which is home to some of the oldest oaks in the country, is now out. That was put out by the Air Corps dropping water from above and by using crews ferried to the fire by members of Killarney Water Rescue.

“Two fires are currently burning at a high, and inaccessible level in the lark, namely around Purple Mountain.”

A private helicopter, run by Executive Helicopters, was brought in by the National Parks.

Firefighters and hundreds of villagers battle large wildfire in Ireland

Seven hours after the fire started the military approved the use of an AS139 helicopter to assist firefighters.

wildfire in northwest Ireland
Hundreds of villagers attacked a wildfire in northwest Ireland April 22, 2019. Screengrab from Kevin Mcbride video.

A large wildfire burned hundreds of acres April 22 in northwest Ireland. It started at about 6 a.m. in Annagry in West Donegal and quickly spread to the neighboring villages of Loughanure and Belcruit and towards Dungloe. At 1 p.m. the Minister of State with Responsibility for Defense, Paul Kehoe, approved the use of an AW139 helicopter from the Irish Air Corps to assist firefighters. Donegal County Council also hired a private company with a smaller helicopter to drop water.

Hundreds of villagers swarmed to the fire with hand tools in attempts to stop the blaze. There were no reports of injuries or structures being destroyed. By evening the spread had been stopped.

The Irish Sun reported that one firefighter said, “This is unreal stuff. I have battled a lot of gorse fires over the years but this is amongst the most dangerous. Everything is bone dry and there is a strong wind so these are perfect conditions for the fires to spread rapidly.”

wildfire in northwest Ireland map
Satellite photo showing smoke from the wildfire north of Dungloe in northwest Ireland, April 22, 2019. Heat is represented by red dots. Heat from a second fire can be seen west of Monaghan.

wildfire in northwest Ireland
Irish Air Corps photo.
wildfire in northwest Ireland
Irish Air Corps photo.
wildfire in northwest Ireland
An AW139 helicopter operated by the Irish Air Corp assisted firefighters. Irish Air Corp photo.
wildfire in northwest Ireland
An AW139 helicopter operated by the Irish Air Corp assisted firefighters. Irish Air Corp photo.

Prescribed fire at Bloody Bridge

The Mourne Heritage Trust in Ireland posted this tweet about a “pilot” controlled burn. It appears that it attracted some onlookers. Click on the photos to see larger versions.

Information about Bloody Bridge from Wikepidia:

The Bloody Bridge – The bridge and the Bloody Bridge River, were so named because of an incident during the 1641 Rebellion, during which a massacre of Protestants took place. Its beauty is widely appreciated by tourists who go to see the ‘Brandy Pad’, called after the trade of illegal brandy which was smuggled down this route and from there onwards at the dead of night to Hilltown.

Ireland: wildfire at Kilworth Army Barracks

This video of a wildfire at Kilworth Army Barracks training grounds in Ireland was shot from a drone.

Ireland has had a rash of wildfires recently.