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. 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?
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
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.
Designing Policy for Disruption
Date/Time: Thursday, November 21 from 1:00 to 1:45 pm
Abstract: coming soon
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.