Managing fire on populated forest landscapes (13w5125)


John (Willard) Braun (University of Western Ontario)

(Western University)

(Norwegian Computing Center)

(University of Toronto)

(Wilfrid Laurier University)

Mike Wotton (Canadian Forest Service)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "Managing fire on populated forest landscapes" workshop from October 20th to October 25th, 2013.

The Okanagan Mountain Park fire in 2003, the Slave Lake fire and the many Ontario First Nations community evacuations in 2011 have raised awareness of the dangers of forest fires to public health and safety. In addition to the obvious risks posed to human life and property, there are indirect consequences as well. For example, evacuations of First Nations communities are often caused by the existence of high concentrations of smoke, and Kelowna saw a rise in hospital admissions due to increased airborne concentrations of fine particulate matter as a result of 2003 fire. Wildfires occur on all but one continent, and although they are often viewed in negative terms, fire is a natural and necessary disturbance on many landscapes. Ecosystems have always depended on wildfire to maintain biodiversity. At the same time, the planet's climate is changing. The impact of evolving weather patterns and global atmospheric processes on fire regimes bears investigation.

The proposed workshop will address ecological and fire management issues from a mathematical and statistical perspective. The workshop will provide a forum for ecologists, climate modellers, fire scientists and managers to collaborate with mathematical programmers, modellers and spatial statisticians. Anticipated outcomes of the workshop are an improved understanding of the underlying processes, improved ecological and fire management tools which will assist in the mitigation of wildfire risk in populated areas.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).