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Webinars and Courses

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Mapping the distance between fire hazard and disaster for communities in Canadian forests

with Tom Swystun, Colin McFayden, and Xianli Wang

April 12, 2024

Time: 9:30 MT/11:30 ET

Wildfires pose a mounting challenge for communities across Canada. But how close is the risk, and where is it likely to come from? Understanding firesheds – the potential areas where wildfires could originate and spread toward communities – is essential for risk management. This webinar introduces innovative new research that maps firesheds, fire spread timelines, and fire pathways for nearly 2,000 Canadian forest communities. Join us to gain insights into: - Novel methods for using fire simulations to understand firesheds. - Key factors, trends, and regional variations in fireshed size, spread speed, and direction. - Applications to wildfire risk management strategies and risk assessments for individual communities. --- Tom Swystun is a forest systems modelling specialist with the Canadian Forest Service at the Great Lakes Forestry Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, ON. His educational background is in GIS and computer science. He has supported wildland fire research in many areas, including fire behaviour and occurrence, risk, and climate change impacts. Colin McFayden is a Forest Fire Research Project Leader with the Canadian Forest Service (CFS), Great Lakes Forestry Centre. He is currently focused on knowledge exchange to support the WildFireSat mission. He recently joined the CFS in 2022, having spent most of his career in the Ontario fire program, working from a FireRanger to a leadership role in wildfire science. Dr. Xianli Wang earned his Ph.D. from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and he is a fire research scientist serving in Northern Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest Service. Dr. Wang’s research is centered on better understanding and predicting the occurrence and spread of wildfires across large areas. He has developed techniques to evaluate the temporal and spatial variations of fire regimes and fire risks, which enhances the ability of operational fire management agencies to protect human life, socio-economic values, and the environment.

Exploring Fatigue in Wildland Firefighters: Understanding the Links Between Sleep, Shift Length, Stress, and Brain Function

with Jesse Wallace-Webb

May 10, 2024

Time: 9:30 MT/11:30 ET

How can wildfire agencies better address workplace fatigue? Drawing from his master's research, Jesse’s talk will examine the impact of poor sleep and extended work hours, highlighting the importance of individual differences, implications for worker health and safety, and the potential of Fatigue Risk Management Systems. Attendees can expect to gain valuable insights into the complexities of workplace fatigue and strategies for mitigation in wildfire settings. Jesse Wallace-Webb has worked for the B.C Wildfire Service as a unit crew member and initial attack crew leader since 2016. With a recent Master of Science in Kinesiology degree from the University of Victoria, Jesse now works as a Research Analyst for the B.C Wildfire Service Research and Innovation business area, focusing on enhancing firefighter health and well-being through evidence-based approaches.

Fuel types misrepresent forest structure and composition in interior British Columbia: A way forward

with Jen Baron

June 14, 2024

Time: 9:30 MT/11:30 ET

A clear understanding of wildland fuels is essential for effective forest and wildfire management. However, fuel typing and mapping remain challenging owing to the wide diversity and heterogeneity of fuel conditions. Despite widespread usage of Fire Behaviour Prediction System fuel type maps in British Columbia (BC), the accuracy and applicability of these maps has not been formally assessed. To address this knowledge gap, we quantified the agreement between on-site assessments and fuel type maps in interior BC. In this presentation, we share the findings of this assessment and discuss pathways to improve future fuel characterizations across forest types. --- Jen Baron is a PhD Candidate and Lecturer at the University of British Columbia, a research scientist with the Pacific Institute of Climate Solutions, and a Fire Behaviour Analyst and Fire Effects Monitor in-training for prescribed fire operations. Through her research, she aims to understand how the legacies of colonization, fire suppression, and fuel accumulation have shaped fire regimes, and how the strategic application of treatments and management can restore fire-adapted landscapes.

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