Fire and Climate 2022 will concentrate our attention on the most significant forces shaping wildland fire today and better prepare us to focus and respond to the formidable challenges of tomorrow.
Recent fires in North America and South America, Australia, across Europe and into Asia, highlight the challenges we face as a global wildland fire community. These events are not isolated, nor are they confined to traditionally fire-prone countries: Bolivia, Chile, Israel, Denmark, Greenland, Sweden, Finland, China and Russia, are among countries facing growing challenges. Fire and Climate 2022 will feature insights, case studies, innovations and opinions from around the world to begin to form a collective, global approach to the wildfire challenge. California has often been at the forefront of innovation in wildland fire management. Holding a conference in California will leverage the lessons learned and adaptive behaviors that are emerging after the 2018 Camp Fire and the 2020 and 2021 fire seasons that will benefit the international wildland fire community. Similarly, Melbourne is well placed to draw on bushfire insights and expertise from experiences of major fires across eastern and southern Australia.
The cascading impacts from fires, the cumulative effects from successive wildfires and the ability to be resilient in the face of these challenges are a call to the wildland fire community to think smarter, faster, and entertain novel ideas to prepare for, respond to and recover from these events. Wildfire is a dire problem and demands that we address the complexities that contribute to the social, biophysical and design elements that contribute to present day dilemmas. An international gathering that encompasses the concerns of the broader wildland fire community, including the benefits of and need for more prescribed burning, will help us address these complexities. This conference will merge the topics that the IAWF has established over three decades through its regular suite of conferences including the Wildland Fire Safety Summit, Human Dimensions of Wildfire, and the Fire Behavior and Fuels conference. These include the interdependent effects related to human built infrastructure, land use and housing patterns, insurance availability and viability, air quality and smoke management, community safety, public warnings, combined effect of climate change and fire on values such as biodiversity, carbon storage, water yields and quality, supply of timber, infestations and drought, impact on private businesses and property tax base, rising costs of emergency response for federal agencies and states, as well as the looming financial threat to counties and municipalities, long term land management approaches, Indigenous fire management knowledge, wildfire response, changing fire behavior and suppression, and fire fighter workforce safety, care and well-being. Harvesting experience, sharing lessons learned and anticipating how to address the unforeseen challenges, creates a pressing need for us to convene an all-hands international conference at this time.