“A Future with Fire” Conference Held in Sacramento
Authors: Michelle Medley-Daniel
Nearly 200 people gathered in Sacramento earlier this week to talk about Californians’ relationship to fire. The two-day conference focused on increasing the pace and scale of fire-based treatments in California, including both landscape-scale prescribed fire and managed wildfire. It was hosted by the Northern California and Southern Sierra Prescribed Fire Councils, and was sponsored by a broad range of agencies, organizations and businesses.
The event was designed to:
- Provide a scientific framework and foundation for discussing and acting on the issues;
- Identify major limiting factors and opportunities on local, state, and national levels;
- Build agreement on the need for increased pace and scale of fire-based treatments; and
- Identify next steps for individual and collective action through focused breakout sessions.
A Future with Fire: Exploring Opportunities for a more Resilient California included two main components: a full day of presentations by fire managers, air quality regulators, fire scientists and agency leaders, and an all day workshop where participants identified opportunities to re-shape the future of fire management in California.
Conference proceedings that synthesize the workshop along with links to the presentations are being developed. Visit www.norcalrxfirecouncil.org after the New Year to review the proceedings.
In the meantime, here are a few of the take away messages presented at A Future with Fire:
- Now is the time: we have a window of opportunity to make a difference for our ecosystems and our communities, but we have to shift the way we manage fire, and we have to do it now.
- We need to accept some smoke in the air and communicate the trade-offs of a suppression dominated strategy vs. a proactive and adaptive fire management approach.
- Fire managers need the opportunity, social license and authority to “play offense and defense.”
- Decisions about fire management should be driven by desired outcomes and not by short term gains or “single resource thinking.”
- We need to build support, funding and capacity for proactive approaches to fire management.
- Coalitions, prescribed fire councils, and other networks (like the Fire Adapted Communities Network and Fire Learning Network) are some of our best assets as we work to change attitudes and grow a culture that can live safely with fire.
Check out Twitter (#RxFireFuture) to see more pictures and review the highlights captured by conference attendees.