3 quarter

Member voices

Cover story feedback 

Re: Cover story, Q2

Outthinking Wildfire, by Michele Steinberg

I was very disappointed in the 2nd quarter Outthinking Wildfire articleSurely Steinberg must know that fire is inevitable in fire adapted ecosystems and that appropriate fire is mandatory for the ecosystem/plant community in question to be fully functional. RX fire should be the 1st tenet to Outthink Wildfire. What a lost opportunity that she does not even mention it in her article.  

Dale Wade

Writer’s response

One of the five tenets of Outthink Wildfire™ is the need for landscape-scale fuel treatment. There are many ways to treat hazardous fuels, and in the broad statements under each tenet, there is plenty of room for specifics, including the promotion of more prescribed fire. NFPA is not a land management agency – it would not be appropriate for us to specify a technique for fuel treatment as a singular solution. Land managers know what treatments will work (and are acceptable and permissible) on what landscapes. The same goes for our tenets to promote policies to drive safer new construction and to retrofit and mitigate existing structures. NFPA is not going to specify the building materials or design techniques in our policy tenets – that will be driven by performance-based codes and the market. 

Outthink Wildfire is calling on policymakers to do things differently. There is ample space in the broad policy promoting hazardous fuel treatment to enable prescribed fire proponents to promote the reintroduction of fire to our landscapes. Of course, any such proposals must take into account the reality of the enormous growth of homes and communities in areas that will be impacted by fire and smoke whether the fire is planned or wild.

Michele Steinberg
Wildfire Division director
National Fire Protection Association


Conference meets the mark

Some questions and responses to our participant survey following the 16th Wildland Fire Safety Summit | 6th Human Dimensions of Wildland Fire Conference, May 24-27

What is your one takeaway from today’s session?

Volunteerism, and watching for “active exclusion’” by reinforced cultural promotion and cliques within brigade culture that inhibit diversity.

Great to see the global perspective with contributions from all over the world. Great content. Dekker’s keynote was excellent.

The research into trust between subordinates and supervisors was excellent.

How we deal with error is more meaningful than trying to stop it. 

Integrating First Nations practice into fire management practice needs leaders willing to try to shift the paradigm and give First Nations power in fire decision making.  

Covid could result in some positive benefits for fire fighting: smaller, closer camps;
minimizing travel; and increasing sleep/rest.

Safety is more about what went right than what went wrong.

I learned to respect what people valued and to be mindful of making sure that mitigation measures completed in different communities are equitable. I loved the atmosphere of mutual respect in this wonderful conference.

What can we do to make your experience better tomorrow?

Make the days longer so I can watch all the sessions you all have done such a fantastic job!
I really appreciate all the effort that must have gone on in the background to organise this and keep it running.

Any way to do a digital icebreaker in the networking breaks? I’d like to meet new people but don’t know where to start a conversation (other than about their work).

Perhaps have a few moderators chatting in the scheduled networking break sessions to start folks off – the breaks are great for bathroom runs, but there is less networking interaction than I thought we might get, except the chats in sessions, which is great!!

Wow, I am finding this conference better than any I have attended in recent years. The topics are relevant and it is well paced. I can’t think of any way of improving my experience. Well done team.

Remind me that the sessions I am unable to attend are being recorded so I can watch them later. While I watch one, I stress about what I am missing

I was a presenter today and remembering how to moderate/join was the most stressful thing, but my moderators were fantastic and made it super easy!

This digital platform is working AMAZINGLY. Definitely not the same as being in person, but it is SO NICE to be able to connect with peers

I really appreciate the “on demand” feature so that I can catch sessions that I missed. 

I thought the introductions to the opening session on Indigenous burning where the speaker walked around their landscape and narrated what they saw was FANTASTIC. That ability may make virtual better than live.

I can’t wait to see all these people in person at the next HD conference! 

Technologies: Networking groups, schedule conflicts.
Modelling presentations were mainly at European night time, so difficult to participate.

I am not sure how to remedy this, but many of the concurrent talks that I attended were poorly attended. The numbers of “live” attendees were between six and 15 (sometimes 20), which was disappointing. I understand that my time zone is very difficult for the U.S. and that a virtual conference is challenging in this way, but speakers worked really hard to put together good presentations and when only a few people show up, it’s a bit of a let down.

Exhibit Hall was poorly attended, despite the regular promotion. I think people may have been a bit confused about how to actually engage in this space. Whereas, in the networking area, engagement was great and easy to do.

It is our intention to continue to provide a hybrid option for our future conferences when possible.  If you had a choice, which would you select?

I will always attend in person if possible.

I will always attend virtually if this option is available.

A combination of both.

What else you would like to tell us?

Great job on making a virtual conference the best it could be. One suggestion: I attended a virtual conference before that had “tables” instead of networking rooms on their conferencing platform. So everyone who entered the conference platform had an avatar that was seated at a table. You could then sit and chat with folks (with webcams on) during breaks or after the conference, and move around to other tables to visit. I found that helped a lot with being able to “interact” with other participants.

Thanks, great work, I really enjoyed the conference.  I also love that I’ve got six months to catch up on all the sessions I couldn’t get to live

Thank you for making this work amongst all the constraints that COVID brings. It was a super valuable endeavor and I am grateful.  I have so much information to sort through now!! 

The Pyrosketchology workshop was wonderful and a real learning experience

The Pheedloop platform really worked well. The Continental IC conversation . . . was FABULOUS.

The presentations are quite rich in data and while I find it interesting, I also am left with the “What now?” thought, or how does this translate to the field in being useful? While I like the academics, I would also like to see some more experiential sharing. As a firefighter and research lover, I am often thinking that my research side is definitely getting met, but the firefighter/fire manager side is left wanting something that really provides food for thought for on the ground usage. Your keynotes like Sydney Dekker and  Dan Cable I really resonated with, and would love to see some more human factors.  Overall, great conference and so glad I get to sit in on the presentation using your awesome on demand feature, for the ones I missed. Thanks sooooo much!

I really liked that closed captioning allowed for support of multiple languages.
This was a great conference under difficult circumstances; thanks so much to all the organizers!

I had fun! It was a great conference. Being in a department where I am the only one studying wildfire, it is great to be able to see and take inspiration from works that others are doing.