Wildfire 2017: Community-Based Solutions to a Wicked Problem
Principal Investigator: Dr. Lori Daniels, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, UBC
Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Shannon Hagerman, Forest Resource Management, UBC
Partner Organizations: Danyta Welch, Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM); Jeff Eustache, First Nations Emergency Service Society (FNESS); Jennifer Gunter, BC Community Forest Association
The wildfire season of 2017 is the worst in British Columbia’s (B.C.) history. In response to Firestorm 2003, the previous devastating wildfire season to affect communities, the B.C. government introduced the $78 million Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative to counter fire risk. As of 2015, only half of B.C.’s communities had engaged with this initiative and a mere 10% of the 1.6 million hectares of identified hazardous fuels had been treated ‒ most communities remain highly vulnerable to wildfire. We are collaborating with the two key groups facilitating B.C.’s Wildfire Prevention Initiative (Union of B.C. Municipalities and First Nations’ Emergency Services Society), as well as the group conducting many community-level fuel treatments (B.C. Community Forest Association). Our objectives are to: a) identify the barriers to community participation in wildfire prevention and b) to co-develop with project partners, provincial leaders and community members potential solutions to increase participation in preventative wildfire management throughout B.C.