PyroLife International Symposium: Towards an Integrated Fire Management
Highlights from the PyroLife Symposium webinar on July 15, 2020 by Abbey Marcotte.
On 15 July, Núria Prat-Guitart, researcher and project manager with Pau Costa Foundation, shared with us the importance of collaboration and knowledge exchange between scientists and managers in order to maximize the impact of wildfire research.
She presents two arguments that are needed in order to maximize this collaboration and establish better collaboration with stakeholders:
- a need to better understand global wildfire activity
- a need to develop useful science.
The first argument — understanding global wildfire activity — presents a challenge such that different types of fires require different social and ecological conditions to occur. These wildfire activities are called ‘wildfire generations’ and occur due to various factors such as fuels, land abandonment, simultaneity of fire events, and wildland urban interface (WUI) expansion. The situation worsens transitioning from type one to type six. Different wildfire generations are happening throughout Europe and around the globe. Wildfire activity is predicted to increase and change into the future such that it is difficult to predict what type of fires will occur and where.
“Wildfires are changing faster than fire science can keep up with.” -Nuria
Argument two — the development of useful science — requires a definition of flow of information between science and practice, such that user-inspired research is needed to deal with current and future wildfire challenges. In order to improve knowledge co-production, a need exists to improve the flow of research outputs from a one-way flow into a two-way communication.
How is this possible? How can the impact of research outputs be improved? Collaboration is essential. Strong collaboration between society, managers, researchers, land owners, and policy makers can help address wildfire problems and challenges instead of all parties addressing the issues alone.
Núria highlights two approaches for collaboration: exchange and create fire management tools and engage diverse actors. To exchange knowledge and tools, it is important to ask the right questions and to different individuals so that more relevant questions are tackled. She also encourages tapping into the fire community as an active source of knowledge, lessons learned, and experiences. It is essential to not only consider topics that may or may not be well-studied, but also the best tools for sharing knowledge with varying actors, whether it be via different platforms or scientific papers. If such tools are unpopular options, then it is important to look to other options. Even information shared in art or cartoons can be beneficial. Finally, engaging diverse actors helps to inspire different ideas for knowledge exchange that are creative and involve society.
Photo credit for featured image: Ricky Martin/CIFOR