2 quarter

Virtual conference tackles real-world issues

Join us on a trip around the world through the lens of wildland fire. During four days in May, the IAWF presents real-world risks and opportunities in an online environment. We will connect a truly international audience, with global topics and speakers from around the world, on different continents and time zones. The IAWF 16th Wildland Fire Safety Summit and the 6th Human Dimensions of Wildland Fire Conference will address the issues that make the global wildland fire community safe, smart and supported.

We will use PheedLoop as our virtual platform. You can navigate Pheedloop like you would any type of website or social-media networking site. There is a home page, or lobby, navigation tools, social-media feeds, graphics, and videos. Participants will make their own personal, customized profiles upon registering; this provides greater opportunities for networking and connecting with other attendees! Much like Facebook and LinkedIn, participants can view other attendees’ profiles, send direct messages, participate in the lobby chat room, and more!

Register now at https://firesafety-humandimensions2021.com/register/ 

The full program schedule can be found here. 

Understanding why
By Professor Dan Cable

What do you think you are doing right now, as you are sitting there reading this? We all have an answer to this question all the time, even if the answer is not salient to us, is not in the forefront.  Even if it is not directly accessible to us. Almost all of us could say, honestly, “I am sitting and moving my eyes.” Because it is true, if you are sitting and reading this. And if you answered this way, you would be emphasizing what your body is doing. Psychologists would call this a “low level of construal” because you are emphasizing the “what” element of the question, what in terms of what you are doing with your physical body.

You could also answer, “I’m reading” and if you answered this way, it would shift the emphasis from your physical body into an activity with a purpose. Yes you are sitting and yes you are moving your eyes across the page, but these activities are in the spirit of something bigger, which is reading a book. This answer would invoke not only your external physical body but also would have some implications for your brain and how it is processing some input. It would bring cognitions into the picture.

We read for different reasons, however. Some of us might answer “I’m reading this homework,” because it is assigned for a required class, and it is due tomorrow.  This would be a very different answer than “I am learning.” The homework answer does put some emphasis on the brain, but in a very light way as you would need to be able to recreate the concepts but you don’t need to let the concepts touch you. For example, perhaps you are working on your MBA, and this is required reading in a required class. But the learning answer would imply that you are comparing the ideas you read to the ideas that you already hold in your brain, and the deciding whether you want to update anything. This is a much more active process, and could even bring emotions into the question like awe for the power of ourselves to interpret and adapt and take on new ideas; awe for what our human brain in capable of; love of new ideas that infect and change us; or regret for the times you read without actually processing the ideas. You could even say “I am trying to make myself better.” This answer has a lot more to do with the big picture, personal why.  

One of the most interesting facts I have ever learned is that each of these answers can be true, and we get to personally decide which truth we believe. We get to make up the narrative of our actions – what do our actions mean to us? The “why” is a higher level of “construal” than the “what,” and research shows that the higher the level, the more we will stick with it when it gets hard. The better you understand your “why,” the greater your level of stamina when the going gets hard. 

Dan Cable is a professor of organizational behavior at London Business School.

Keynote sessions and panels

Mountain Daylight Time | May 24 | 4 p.m..
Central European Standard Time | May 25|  12 a.m. 
Australian Eastern Daylight Time | May 25 | 8 am.

Success and sacrificing decisions in the field; human performance and hindsight 
Sidney Dekker, PhD, professor and director of the Safety Science Innovation Lab, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, and professor, faculty of aerospace engineering, Delft University, Netherlands. Read More

Dr. Dekker will run through how sacrificing decisions (while being tentative but decisive in the field) under uncertainty and resource constraints, how capacities in a team can help make things go well despite this, and how, in hindsight, we might avoid second-guessing firefighters’ sacrificing decisions under pressure, in part by being clear(er) about agreed decision criteria or ‘freedom in a frame’ upfront.

Mountain Daylight Time | May 25 | 12 a.m.
Central European Standard Time | May 25|  8 a.m. 
Australian Eastern Daylight Time | May 25 | 4 p.m.

Wildland Fire Management under COVID-19: Results of Two Global Surveys
Dr. Cathelijne Stoof, assistant professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, Netherlands. Creator and leader of PyroLife, Innovative Training Network on integrated fire management. Read More

This talk summarizes the results of two global surveys that were conducted at the start of the pandemic and in February 2020 to clarify implications of COVID-19 impacts on wildland fire management. These surveys were held to collate any plans, protocols or procedures to generate generic guidance for wildland fire professionals in developing and developed countries, and to stimulate sharing of best practices among agencies, regions and countries. Results of the two surveys allow comparison of expectations and lessons learned about fire management during the pandemic. Topics explored include COVID-19 effects on general fire management, sharing of resources, fire-suppression strategies, challenges and advantages of the new situation, and effects on training, readiness and recover. An important focus is the mental health and work-life balance, to provide guidance on any support that may be needed for wildland fire professionals in these challenging times.

To view the survey, visit https://www.wur.nl/en/project/The-impact-of-COVID-19-on-wildland-fire-management.htm 

Mountain Daylight Time | May 25 |  8 a.m.
Central European Standard Time | May 25 | 4 p.m.
Australian Eastern Daylight Time | May 26  | 12 a.m.

A conversation with Felipe Gonzalez, Former Spanish Prime Minister (1982 – 1996)

Felipe Gonzalez is one of the key political figures in the history of Spain in the second half of the twentieth century. A leading player in the democratic transition, he was the third president of the Spanish government since its reinstatement in the late 1970s and has been the longest-time president (four legislatures in 13.5 years). Read More

The modernization of Spain and its complete integration into the European concert took place  between 1982 and 1996. Although he is retired from the political profession, the former president remains active in various current focuses at European and Latin American level.

Mountain Daylight Time | May 26 | 12 a.m.
Central European Standard Time  | May 26 | 8 a.m
Australian Eastern Daylight Time | May 26 | 4 p.m.

What can we learn from Victoria’s response to COVID in the aged-care sector?

 Joe Buffone, Director General of Emergency Management Australia (EMA), was recently deployed to Victoria to establish and lead the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre to co-ordinate the response to COVID outbreaks in the aged-care sector. Joe led the centre for three months until the situation was stabilized and transitioned to recovery. Read More

 Joe has been with EMA since December 2016 and has held multiple roles within the organization. As director general, Joe is responsible for overseeing Australian Government Crisis Coordination Centre, coordination of Australian government disaster assistance (non-financial), physical security for Australian holders of high office, major events security and commonwealth disaster recovery funding. 

Joe has more than 30 years’ experience in security and disaster management and has held a number of key senior positions.

Mountain Daylight Time | May 26 |4 p.m.
Central European Standard Time |May 26 | 12 a.m.
Australian Eastern Daylight Time | May 27 |8 a.m.

PANEL: Recovery and revitalization of Indigenous (wild)fire futures 

Moderator: Amy Cardinal Christianson, Métis, fire research scientist, Canadian Forest Service
Panelists: Brady Highway, Asinīskāwitiniwak, leads a project on behalf of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative developing a national strategy for Indigenous Guardians entering this critical function of resource management.
Margo Robbins, Yurok Tribe, co-founder and executive director of the Cultural Fire Management Council (CFMC).  
Bhiamie Williamson, Euahlayi, is a research associate and PhD candidate at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University.

Read More

Indigenous Nations and territories worldwide have diverse relationships with fire that evolved through time. Today, however, they are increasingly affected by modern megafires with harmful and lasting impacts. While dominant narratives often describe Indigenous Peoples as vulnerable to wildfire, many Indigenous Nations are leading wildfire preparedness and recovery processes that are grounded in cultural and land-based health and well being; these processes range from continuing or reintroducing cultural fire to adopting Indigenous FireSmart™ principles to planning and implementing eco-cultural restoration initiatives following wildfire events. Through these processes, Indigenous Nations are able to center their knowledge, language and traditions in support of cultural revitalization. However, many Indigenous Nations continue to face challenges in leading (wild)fire recovery and revitalization; this is particularly the case in settler-colonial countries, where modern fire and landscape management systems remain grounded within Western colonial and scientific frameworks. 

This keynote panel brings together Indigenous community leaders, fire practitioners and researchers from Australia, Canada and the United States to highlight examples of Indigenous-led revitalization and reflect on the changes needed to overcome the challenges that remain. Critically, this panel will discuss shifting the narrative away from vulnerability and toward the panelists’ vision of revitalized Indigenous-led (wild)fire futures.

Mountain Daylight Time | May 26 |8 a.m.
Central European Standard Time | May 26 | 4 p.m.
Australian Eastern Daylight Time | May 27 |12 a.m.

The Power of Purpose
Dan Cable, PhD, Professor, organizational behavior, London Business School Read More

We will discuss why purpose is important to humans in the context of our neurological seeking systems. The seeking system creates the impulse to look for the effects of our actions, and extract meaning from our circumstances. When we follow the seeking system’s urges, it releases dopamine – a neurotransmitter linked to motivation and pleasure – that makes us enthusiastic, curious, and resilient. This is why purpose is so critical to leaders: it inspires employee commitment and resilience and helps people speak truth to power. Thus, purpose is particularly important when change, commitment, and creativity are necessary. Purpose also promotes health: when we don’t feel a sense of purpose, our immune cells are less effective, leading to earlier death. We will discuss how leaders can help people feel more purpose by enabling them to play to their strengths and innovate at work, and personalize their stories about purpose in their work.

Mountain Daylight Time | May 26 |4 p.m.
Central European Standard time | May 27 | 12 a.m.
Australian Eastern Daylight Time | May 27 | 8 a.m.

PANEL: Wildfire leadership in uncertain times

Moderator: Euan Ferguson

Allyson Lardner, Regional manager, Forest & Fire Operations, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Victoria, Australia
Reinard Geldenhuys, Manager, Emergency Services, Overberg District Municipality, Western Cape, South Africa 
Ángela Iglesias Rodrigo, General Directorate of Biodiversity, Forests and Desertification, Ministry of Ecological Transition and Rural Development, Madrid, Spai
Kaili McCray, PhD, MPH, MHE, DOI Wildland Firefighter Medical Standards, U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Wildland Fire, Boise, Idaho
Julie Tompa, Director, Natural Resources Management, Parks Canada
Peter F. Moore, PhD, Fire Management Specialist, Forest Officer Fire Management, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), United Nations
Bea Day, Incident commander, Portland National Incident Management Organization, USDA Forest Service
Murray Carter, Executive director , Rural Fire Division, Department of Fire and Emergency Services. Western Australia
Lara Steil, Coordinator of the Department for Interagency and Burning Control, Brazilian National Center for Prevention and Fighting Wildfires, Brazil

Read More

In these volatile and complex times, we are being tested: longer fire seasons; managing through a pandemic; political disruption; and communities looking to their leaders to find a way forward. We need to look beyond traditional approaches and solutions for wildfire management. We need to think creatively and adaptively. 

Join our expert global panel to hear how countries are moving forward in these dynamic times to improve safety of communities and fire personnel, including mental health. 

Communities, fire management organizations, academics and front-line fire managers should tune in to this unique and relevant discussion.

Mountain Daylight Time | May 27 |8 a.m.
Central European Standard Time | May 27 | 4 p.m.
Australian Eastern Daylight Time | May 28 | 12 a.m.

Fires and Storms and COVID, Oh My!
Jennifer Symonds, D.O., Fire & aviation management medical officer and fire medical qualifications program manager, USDA Forest Service, Washington Office, Fire & Aviation Management

Read More

Besides responding to floods and tornadoes from massive storms, United States federal agencies that also respond to wildfires had to react to the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus just as the time of year when wildfire numbers typically increase drew near. Bringing hundreds to thousands of resources from across the nation to a single fire camp with the threat of being a COVID-19 super-spreader event, the agencies had to creatively think of ways to modify these camps. 

The Federal Fire Management Board created a team of individuals to provide evidence-based guidance and called it the Medical and Public Health Advisory Team, or MPHAT. The team includes medical officers from various agencies as well as federal public health specialists familiar with wildfire response. 

This team’s job was to supply data-driven advice and instruction to the agencies on how to prevent infection with, as well as spread of, the virus. Team members also provided guidance on how to reduce common fire issues that would increase the risk of a poor outcome if fire personnel were to become infected. 

I attended calls or virtual meetings to supply updates on what guidance was coming out from the Centers for Disease Control in somewhat real time. As the year drew to a close, part of my job became discussing vaccination for SARS-CoV-2 and encouraging employees to receive the vaccine while giving real-time updates on what fully vaccinated individuals can or cannot do.


Mountain Daylight Time 
Part I: May 24, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Part II: May 26, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Central European Standard Time
Park I: May 24, 10:30-11:30 p.m.
Part II: May 26, 10:30-11:30 p.m.
Australian Eastern Daylight Time
Part I: May 25, 6:30-7:30 a.m.
Part II:  May 27, 6:30-7:30 a.m.

Nature Journaling for Fire Situational Awareness – Look Up, Down and Around

Miriam Morrilll, Pyrosketcholgy, consultant in fire education, nature journaling, and illustration.

On Day 1, participants will be introduced to key nature journaling concepts and practices that can be used to increase fire situational awareness leveraging the National Wildfire Coordinating Group Incident Response Pocket Guide’s Look Up, Down and Around criteria.  

The exercises are intended for place-based experiences that help map multiple sensory observations to key fire conditions. 

Techniques include mixed learning languages (words, numbers and pictures) to engage different parts of the brain for a deeper more deliberate learning process. 

To integrate these place-based exercises, students are expected to do “homework” before the second session, which allows them to go outside and experience the journaling techniques. During the Day 2 session, participants will share and discuss their observations to create a shared learning experience. 

There will also be tips to personalize this approach into an ongoing practice that can strengthen situational awareness, build trauma-resilience skills and improve field observation and documentation capabilities. 

Mountain Daylight Time
Option I: May 25, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Option II: May 27, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Central European Standard Time
Option I: May 25, 10:30-11:30 p.m.
Option II: May 27, 11:30-12:30 a.m.
Australian Eastern Daylight Time
Option I: May 26, 6:30-7:30 a.m.
Option 2: May 28, 7:30-8:30 a.m.

An Introduction to Using StoryMaps For Wildfires

Chris (Fern) Ferner, Esri Wildland Fire GIS Specialist 

Join us for a hands-on introduction to ArcGIS StoryMaps. StoryMaps are very useful tools for disseminating information prior to, during and after wildfire events. 

Attendees will enjoy an introduction including examples of StoryMaps created for recent fires, a short demo and time to build a StoryMap. 

Resources will be provided to help participants move forward with StoryMaps, and there will be lots of time for questions.