2019 Symposium: WILDFIRE in Washington State

Thursday, September 12, 2019
9 AM – 3 PM

Registration is now open. Click here to register.

Wildfire and Land Management

This theme relates to the array of land management techniques implemented to protect the public, the natural landscape, wildlife habitat, and recreational areas from the dangers of wildfire while also providing for local economic opportunities. Broad overarching topics include management of land for the prevention and mitigation of wildfire. Relevant specific subtopics under this theme include such things as fire suppression, preparedness, predictive efforts, fuels management, fire planning, and the use of controlled wildland fire to improve land health. Important to an efficient and effective land management program is quantitative assessments of wildfire risk to determine areas of the landscape where aggressive management is cost-effective as opposed to areas where the effects of fire would be minimal or could even play a beneficial role so that fire should be encouraged rather than suppressed.

Wildfire and Health

This theme addresses the broad spectrum of bio-psycho-social impacts of wildfire on health and health compromised populations. Presenters will address the socio-epidemiologic aspects of wildfire via the description of an ongoing study designed to mine social media during times of wildfire to better understand the experience of those enduring the altered atmospheric conditions and the restriction placed on their activities of daily life. Secondly, the actual physical health impact will be described for those experiencing the impact of air quality degradation related to wildfire. This will focus on the impacts to those in good health as well as those with chronic health conditions. Attendees will gain an understanding of the adverse consequences on health.

Wildfire and the Environment

Virtually all of earth’s ecosystems have evolved with fire as an integral natural element. Biotic function and structure are integrally tied to natural cycles of wildfire and regrowth, and these cycles vary in myriad ways depending on local climatic characteristics. As the earth’s climate changes, so do wildfire dynamics. This session focuses on wildfire in the natural environment, and how changes in the natural environment are changing wildfire dynamics and how we deal with them.

Wildfire and Economics

Wildfires in the Western United States are becoming large, more destructive in economic terms, and more costly to fight and prevent. Comprehensive economic accounting is crucial for understanding many of the consequences of wildfire, and economics as a behavioral science can be useful for understanding the role of public and private incentives and institutions for wildfire prevention, suppression, and recovery. This session provides an economic perspective on the impacts of fire, the fundamental economic forces that shape wildfire management institutions, the costs of wildfire to communities, and the socio-economic forces that shape recovery from fire.

Wildfire and Government Regulations and Policy

Wildfire management is highly complex problem, often requiring extensive preparation and emergency response under a high degree of uncertainty. A complex multilevel set of executive, regulatory, and legal institutions has evolved around this management problem. Given the rapid change in wildfire regimes and demographics in recent years, this institutional context and will continue to change. This session focuses on wildfire management organization and law.