October Ignite Talk
Tuesday, October 12 

Giving Voice to Cultural Safety of Indigenous Wildland Firefighters in Canada

For decades, Indigenous firefighters and fire operations staff have been engaged in wildland fire suppression activities, formally and informally. Little is known or understood about the experiences of Indigenous wildland firefighting personnel. To address this deficit, we developed an online survey and virtual circles were conducted specifically for individuals who self-identified as Indigenous and worked in wildland firefighting and/or fire operations for at least one fire season in Canada.

Amy Cardinal Christianson, Research Scientist, Canadian Forest Service: Amy Cardinal Christianson is a Métis woman from Treaty 8 territory, currently living in Treaty 6, and a fire research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada. Amy is the co-author of the book  “First Nations Wildfire Evacuations: A Guide for Communities and External Agencies” and also cohosts the Good Fire podcast, which looks at Indigenous fire use around the world.

Kathy Offet-Gartner, Registered Psychologist (Counselling), Turtle Island Consulting (TIC): Kathy is a Sami woman, is a proud Kokum to 3 members of the Seton Lake band and an honoured member of this important research team. Kathy holds a PhD in Counselling Psychology and is a Registered Psychologist in Alberta. Kathy’s practice, teaching, writing, and research interests revolve around ethical counselling practices with a concerted focus on culture-infused and equity approaches.  Kathy has focused most of her 39-year career working with and for Indigenous peoples and communities and commits to emphasizing resilience, commitment, and successful academic achievement as a gateway to positive health, wellness, and career-life balance.

Joe Gilchrist, Fire Keeper, Turtle Island Consulting (TIC)/ Salish Fire Keepers: Joe Gilchrist is a Traditional Fire Keeper in the interior region of BC (Secwepemc and Nlaka’pamux Nations) with over two decades of experience in cultural burning revitalization and wildland fire prevention training. Joe is a Traditional Fire Keeper and Peer Reviewer for the Giving Voice to Cultural Safety of Indigenous Wildland Firefighters in Canada Project.


This session will include four parts:

  • History of Indigenous wildland firefighting in Canada (10 mins)
  • Survey and virtual circle results
    1. What are Indigenous wildland firefighters’ and wildland fire operations staff’s experiences regarding accident/injury rates, sickness presenteeism/absenteeism, chronic illness (cancer, respiratory illness, etc.), close calls, racism/discrimination/harassment?
    2. What is currently working on the fireline and fire operation centres to promote cultural safety of Indigenous wildland firefighting personnel?
    3. What are the priority needs/issues and recommendations for enhancing cultural safety for Indigenous wildland firefighting personnel?
  • Discussion with Indigenous firefighters on cultural safety and workforce resilience
  • Questions

August Ignite Talk
What does it mean to be a good ally? Actions towards allyship.

Presented by Ellen Bledsoe, PhD (she/her), Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Regina
Ellen will introduce some general terminology about inclusivity, privilege, allies, and allyship; explore the importance of coupling diversity initiatives with allyship; and guide you through identifying your own points of privilege and instances in which you can act as allies. She will provide concrete examples of how to be allies—both pre-emptively and in response to specific incidents.

July Ignite Talk
Fitness and Wellness for Performance in Wildland Firefighting

Joe Sol shares their research on sustainment and maintenance throughout the fire season.

June Ignite Talk
Wildland Firefighters Mental Health and Well-being

May 6, 2021
Nomex for Every BODY with Bria Fleming
Learn how Incidental’s various products and services are developed, and what the future might hold. Bria will share information on NFPA1977 (the safety standard that governs our uniforms), and the general state of workwear today, especially for women. We’ll discuss the process for custom-made garments, and finish with a couple quick DIY repair tutorials!

April Ignite Talk
Incident Management and COVID-19. Lessons Learned and Remaining Challenges
A conversation with Bea Day, Incident Commander, USDA Forest Service, Sara Sweeney, Superintendent, Mormon Lake Hotshots, USDA Forest Service and Stuart (Stu) Rodeffer, Logistics Section Chief, Portland NIMO Team, USDA Forest Service

March 18, 2021
Leading towards a more inclusive Wildland Fire Community “Just because it has always been does not mean it has to continue to be”
Presented by Terry Baker, CEO, Society of American Foresters

As our societies grow and change, the wildland fire community has to continue to evolve in its workforce and practices to better meet the expectations place upon it. Although the thought of and having diversity, equity, and inclusion conversations can be challenging, they represent opportunities for each of us to engage and lead from where we are. This session will focus on learning through sharing stories and experiences to provoke introspection problem solving.

February 23, 2021
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: A Practice for Challenging Times and All Times. A way of being happy
Presented by Michelle Reugebrink

Considering the intensity of the past year, from historic wildfires to social and economic tensions to a global pandemic, it is no wonder that many of us are experiencing burnout, stress, and anxiety. This includes first responders who regularly experience critical incidents and ongoing stress. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MSBR) program is available to help you cope with a range of stressors and anxiety through a medical and science-based approach. Psychological resilience can be learned through specific practices and has been found to bolster resiliency in the face of, and in recovering from, stress.

November 23, 2020
Nine Insights from Living with PTSD: From Darkness to the Light, a Wildland Firefighter Perspective
Presented by Marc Titus

PTSD is quietly impacting wildland firefighters with its often devastating personal and professional repercussions. While no official numbers exist, suicide has become another statistic now necessary to track within the wildland community as anecdotal data show an alarming trend. While agency’s come to grips with this burgeoning problem, firefighters can educate themselves to better understand the dynamics of stress, trauma and PTSD. This event will provide a unique view of the insidious nature of trauma, its effects on the human being with an eye towards recovery and nine key insights derived from the experiences of a wildland firefighter afflicted by this nervous system injury.

October 6, 2020
Emotional Intelligence for Wildland Fire Professionals
Presented by Kelly Martin

It is crucial for wildland fire professionals today to be technically competent in their jobs. What is less obvious and less understood is the cognitive competency needed for our professional job performance. This event will provide you a better understanding of our own thought processes and how we make decisions on emotional feelings, social inputs, and how developing a high level of Emotional Intelligence can affect risk decision job performance as well as our daily performance.