International Association of Wildland Fire

2nd Human Dimensions of Wildland Fire Conference

April 26-29, 2010  ~  Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade

San Antonio, Texas


Featured Speakers

Tuesday Morning - April 27, 2010

Australian Response to the Black Saturday Fires: What is and isn't Changing?
Naomi Brown, Australasian Fire Authorities Council
Alan Rhodes, Country Fire Authority

The wildfires of 7 February in Victoria Australia that killed 173 people and destroyed over 2000 homes shocked the world. The Government quickly established a Royal Commission, the highest form of inquiry possible in Australia, to investigate all aspects of the disaster. Both the fires and the proceedings of the Royal Commission have significantly altered public perceptions of the wildfire risk and how agencies need to respond. Key issues such as the ‘stay or go’ approach, warning systems and incident management have been under intense scrutiny and the focus of public debate. The presentation will provide an overview of the fires, the Royal Commission findings and the implications that flow from these events. The presentation will also include reflection on some fundamental issues that have arisen such as the role of the community in responding to the risk of wildfire and whether responsibility for dealing with the risk can be shared between agencies and the community.

Wednesday Morning - April 28, 2010

When the Incident doesn’t End: Life in the Grinder
The Experiences of a State Agency Tasked with Managing Multiple Long-Duration Incidents and the Impact on its Personnel.

Mark D. Stanford, Fire Operations Chief, Texas Forest Service

From 2005 through 2009, Texas Forest Service personnel spent more than 1,000 days leading the state’s response to three extended fire seasons and providing incident management teams and support personnel for multiple all-hazard incidents. These included six hurricanes, two tropical storms, eight floods and two tornados. This equates to TFS personnel being actively engaged in emergency response operations for more than 65 percent of the five-year period. Agency leadership was concerned about the cumulative effect of physical and mental fatigue, the impact on employees, their families and the ability to maintain a safe working environment. Topics covered in this presentation will include actions taken by TFS leadership to identify and mitigate these impacts.

Thursday Morning - April 29, 2010

Closing the Science-Practice Gap: Lessons Learned from Collaboration Between Research and Practice in Community Wildfire Protection Planning
Daniel R. Williams, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station
Pamela J. Jakes, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station
Judy Serby, Colorado State Forest Service

This plenary will examine the research-practice nexus by presenting lessons and reflections from a Joint Fire Science Program sponsored project investigating collaborative capacity in community wildfire protection planning. The session will contrast a standard agency (management needs based) model of knowledge transfer with an approach used in this project, in which knowledge transfer was guided by a collaborative team of researchers and practitioners. In addition, as this project unfolded a key lesson for the researchers was that the planned knowledge transfer activities needed to focus less on delivering specific knowledge and lessons (which themselves were highly contextual) and more on supporting the development and strengthening of formal and informal networks of intermediary practitioners. Engage the audience in a discussion of how to narrow the research-practice gap.