Keynote Speakers

We welcome wildland fire community experts to present as keynote speakers at our conference.

Dr. George Abbott

Can New Paths and New Partnerships Help Us Address the New Normal?

Date/Time: Tuesday, November 19 from 8:20 to 9:05 am

Abstract:  The 2017 fire season was by far the worst ever in British Columbia’s history.  Over 1.2 million hectares were burned, over 65,000 citizens were displaced for up to several weeks, with total costs (not including natural resources lost) of nearly $600 million.  The dramatic events of 2017 quickly exposed weaknesses and inadequacies in the Province’s fire response and disaster management framework.  In late 2017, the recently elected BC government engaged Chief Maureen Chapman and George Abbott to co-chair a 2017 fire and flood review.  The co-chairs reported out in May 2018 with 108 recommendations in a report entitled Addressing the New Normal: 21st Century Disaster Management in British Columbia.

The Abbott-Chapman Report (hereafter “the Report”) was critical of many aspects of the existing fire and flood framework, particularly the inadequacy of existing preparedness and prevention measures.  Such measures constituted only a very tiny fraction of overall expenditures in comparison to response and were often fragmented and disjointed.  The Report argued that the challenges of 2017 were not anomalous, but rather a strong indicator of a climate “new normal” presenting unpredictable and increasingly volatile impacts on the land-base.  The Report called for new and robust partnerships among federal, provincial, Indigenous and local governments.  Such partnerships should also be generated between governments and  non-governmental associations representing industry, forest contractors, ranchers, farmers and guide-outfitters.

The Report advocated new paths to preparedness, prevention, response and recovery that embraced Indigenous and local knowledge (like greater use of preventative prescribed burns) and made more and better use of technology in detection of hazards and in communication among partners.  Consistent with the UN’s Sendai Framework, the Report called on senior governments to provide stable, sustainable funding to meet ongoing climate change challenges. My conference presentation will suggest public policy shifts consistent with the Report.

Dr. George Abbott

Wildland Fire Canada 2019 welcomes Dr. George Abbott as one of our featured speakers at the upcoming conference. In 2017, Dr. Abbott co-chaired British Columbia’s fire and flood review with Chief Maureen Chapman. Their report, completed and released in May 2018, was used as the province’s guide to enhanced fire and flood response. Previously, he served for 17 years as MLA for Shuswap, including 12 years in cabinet leading the ministries of Health, Education, Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, Sustainable Resource Management, and Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services. Before provincial politics, George was a farmer, local government representative, and college instructor. Dr. Abbott recently completed a doctorate in political science at the University of Victoria and a book entitled Prescription Before Diagnosis: Politics and Public Policy in the BC Liberal New Era, 2001-2005.

 

Dr. Timothy Brown

What does wildfire resiliency look like in an extreme world?

Date/Time: Tuesday, November 19 from 9:05 to 9:50 am

Abstract:  Anthropogenic climate change is a critical factor for today’s wildland fire as a warmer climate enables longer and more extreme events. But climate change is not the only factor driving fire impacts. Wildfire is the most complex physical and societal system known, and we seem to have reached a confluence of climate, fuels, and people that began merging in the early 20th Century creating more extreme fire today. In many geographic areas, aggressive suppression and land use changes have altered the vegetation and increased fuel availability. People are moving into fire prone areas and the recent California conflagrations highlight fire moving into the people. Risk equals vulnerability times threat, where risk is known quantifiable threats. Resilience on the other hand, a desired outcome of fire management agencies and communities, includes many unknown, uncharacterized low-probability events. This raises a myriad of questions such as: What does a wildfire resilient community look like?; How can landscapes be managed for resiliency to extreme events?; What does climate resiliency mean to wildland fire management?; How do we know we are succeeding in creating resiliency? This keynote presents a bricolage of thoughts around the grand question – What does wildfire resiliency look like in an extreme world?

Dr. Timothy Brown

Wildland Fire Canada 2019 welcomes Dr. Timothy Brown as a keynote speaker at our conference. Dr. Brown is Director of the Western Regional Climate Center and the Program for Climate, Ecosystem and Fire Applications at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) in Reno, Nevada. Also, he serves on the graduate faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno Atmospheric Sciences Program, and is adjunct Senior Research Fellow at Monash University School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment in Clayton, Victoria, Australia. His primary academic interests at DRI include:wildland fire-climate-weather connections; the wildfire environment; applications development for wildland fire management planning, decision-making and policy; and the interface between science and decision-making.

 

Armel Castellan

Tales from a meteorologist collocated in BC Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre during two back to back record wildfire and smoke seasons.

Date/Time: Wednesday, November 20 from 8:05 to 8:50 am

Abstract: coming soon

Armel Castellan

Wildland Fire Canada 2019 welcomes Armel Castellan who is a Warning Preparedness Meteorologist at Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) located in Victoria, BC. Armel Castellan’s career is focused on: customized weather and climate information for emergency preparedness and response; and, climate and weather communication and interpretation. Working with both external and internal clients, he assists in understanding custom interpreted weather and climate information to make operational decisions to optimize safety, efficiency and business continuity. In 2017 and 2018, during recent unprecedented wildfire seasons in British Columbia, these supports were provided on an ongoing basis to the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre helping coordinate disaster response and mitigation. Armel’s clients include emergency management organizations in the Arctic and BC, Emergency Management BC, municipalities, provincial and federal ministries, departments and the media. Also, he’s responsible for the production and delivery of weather-related contributions to the BC Provincial Technical Drought Working Group.

 

David Flood

Toward Full Participation in Forestry – Empowerment, Management and Prosperity

Date/Time: Wednesday, November 20 from 10:55 to 11:40 am

Abstract: In the Canadian context Indigenous peoples have endured ongoing policy development that ranged from alliance, exclusion, extinguishment, permitted existence, coexistence and lately self determination. Since 1996 after the Report was released on the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People combined with the juris prudence on consultation case law, there have been ongoing and incremental opportunities to improve socio-economic well being and involvement in managing interests on territorial lands.

First Nation’s of the Northeast Superior Region are exploring Tenure Reform in Ontario as a vehicle to move towards Full Participation in the benefits derived from Forestry and Forest Management.

David Flood

We welcome David Flood, RPF, to our Wildland Fire Canada 2019 conference. A member of Matachewan First Nation, David has a combined forestry degree and technologist diploma. Using these skills, he provides operational forestry services and delivers support for: forest management plans; land use plan development; and, policy and political advocacy. For 15 years, David has dedicated his time to First Nation advocacy, including full participation in natural resources planning and the benefits derived in policy and direct agreements. David currently serves as the General Manager of Wahkohtowin Development (www.wahkohtowin.com), a First Nation-owned regional development corporation focused on the forestry opportunities and the biomass sectors.

 

Tony Pesklevits

Designing Policy for Disruption

Date/Time: Thursday, November 21 from 1:00 to 1:45 pm

Abstract: coming soon

Tony Pesklevits

Tony is Anneke’s dad and Lisa’s husband, and lives in Smithers, BC. Tony joined the BC public service in 2007, where he has worked as a land use planner, negotiator, and regional director responsible for the provincial fish and wildlife, species at risk, cumulative effects assessment, geomatics and research programs for the northwest third of BC. Most of his work has involved breaking trail in front of policy, helping build practical on-the-ground strategies with Indigenous communities, stakeholders, industry and governments, to transform natural resource conflicts. In 2017, Tony took on the role of director of a policy secretariat supporting executive committees across BC’s natural resource ministries, driving alignment across major policy initiatives. Tony has a graduate degree in forest ecology and complex systems theory from Dalhousie University, and is a recipient of the BC Emerging Leader Premier’s Award and a member of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference. He’s passionate about wicked problems, strategic foresight, building up future leaders and making sawdust. He is currently a Strategic Advisor with the BC Wildfire Service, where he is helping build an organization and a policy framework that is ready to adapt to disruption.

 

Deanne Shulman

A Career with the US Forest Service: Perspectives from a Pioneer Woman in Fire Management and Experiences in the International Arena

Date/Time: Thursday, November 21 from 8:05 to 8:50 am

Abstract: Deanne Shulman, a pioneer woman in fire management in the U.S. Forest Service and first woman smokejumper in the United States, will share her experiences and reflections on a 37-year career with the Forest Service.  She will explore the impacts of women’s 1970s experiences in an overt and blatant gender hostile environment with the insidious effects of covert expressions still prevalent in many work environments today.  With insights from her own experiences, Deanne will offer perspectives on navigating through challenging work situations and resilience in the face of adversity.  She will also share highlights of her 14 years working in the international arena on fire and emergency management programs.

Deanne Shulman

As a pioneer woman in fire management in the U.S. Forest Service, and first woman smokejumper in the United States, Wildland Fire Canada 2019 welcomes Deanne Shulman. In 1974, Deanne was hired by the U.S. Forest Service. She worked seasonally over the next twelve years in a variety of suppression positions including: hotshot crew; fire engine; helicopter rappelling crew; fire patrol; and, smokejumper. In 1986, Deanne moved into a fire management position and filled various roles at the district and forest level for the next eleven years. After several international assignments in fire and disaster response, Deanne accepted a position with the Forest Service Office of International Programs in 1998. She served a total of fourteen years providing leadership and technical assistance to envision, fund, design and implement a portfolio of fire and emergency management capacity building partnership programs internationally. Deanne retired at the end of 2011 and now is an international consultant for natural resources and emergency management programs development. She has a bachelor’s degree in Forest Management from Northern Arizona University.

 

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