Bulkley Valley Research Centre - Science in the Public Interest

Northern Conference for Wildfire Resilience

Wednesday April 24, 2019  8:00am - Friday April 26, 2019 2:45pm

Burns Lake Gathering Place - Burns Lakes, BC

The Bulkley Valley Research Centre, with support from conference sponsors, is pleased to host the Northern Conference for Wildfire Resilience in Burns Lake April 24-26, 2019. The purpose of this working conference is to launch a northern initiative to kick-start the forest and fire paradigm shifts required for ecosystem and community resilience. The conference will help participants strengthen partnerships, shift forest practices, understand the opportunities to engage policy, and move to a new planning paradigm that considers our current state, the role of fire, and future resilience.


The BVRC teamed up with Future Ecologies to present a special podcast in preparation for the conference. Since the conference, Future Ecologies has been working on Part 2 of this podcast, and it is now live. This episode features Clint Lambert, Les Husband, Bruce Blackwell, Dr. Sonja Leverkus, and Chief Francis Johnson. It takes a closer look at the experience of wildfire evacuation, the necessity of moving beyond managing for static values, and the practicalities and difficulties of re-introducing prescribed burning as a landscape management tool. You can listen or download an mp3 of Parts 1 & 2 below:

Common Ground: Primer for the BVRC Northern Conference for Wildfire Resilience (Parts 1 & 2)

Overall Conference Objectives

  • Set context: This is why we are here, this is how we got here.
  • Generate energy: Launch a northern initiative to kick-start the forest and fire management paradigm shifts required for forest and community resilience.
  • Create space and share information: Get together for discussion, learning, and commitment for next steps among Northern Initiative Community Members (e.g. land and resource managers from all levels of government, First Nations, forest industry, consultants, and scientists).
  • Promote Engagement and Partnerships: Identify opportunities for collaborative action and partnerships across a diversity of groups.
  • Share findings: Findings will be shared with Northern Initiative Community Members during and after the conference. Report out to residents and public in Nadina Forest District through the evening community session on Day 2.
  • Next Steps: Northern Initiative Community members feel equipped to take the next steps toward the paradigm shifts required.


Conference Themes


Conference Speakers Confirmed


Keynote: Chief Maureen Chapman, Sq'ewá:lxw First Nation - Strengthening our partnerships: One Year After the Chapman/Abbott Report

Plenary Panel:

  • Chief Corrina Leween, Cheslatta Carrier Nation - Perspective on 2018 Wildfires
  • Clint Lambert, Regional District Bulkley Nechako Director Electoral Area "E" - Perspectives from the Southside on 2018 Wildfires
  • Chief Rick McLean, Tahltan Band Council - Telegraph Creek Wildfires: Fire Preparedness, Response and Recovery

Partnership Presentation:

  • Kalin Uhrich, Chief Forester Canfor Corporation - Response Approaches and Synergy with BCWS and Industry 


Keynote: Dr. Lori Daniels, Professor and Forest Ecologist at UBC Forestry - Transformative Changes to Wildfire and Forest Management

Panel Speakers:

  • Dr. Sonja Leverkus: Landscape Ecologist, Wildland Fire Ecologist and Ecosystem Scientist for Shifting Mosaics Consulting - Incorporating Cultural Knowledge to Manage Fire-prone Ecosystems
  • Marie-Lou Lefrancois MSc RPF: Wildlife Resource Specialist North Area, BCTS Head Quarters - Sustainable Forest Management and Partial Cutting


Keynote: Tony Pesklevits, Director of the Policy Secretariat - Designing Policy for Disruption

Panel Speakers:

  • Diane Nicholls, ADM and Chief Forester for Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development - Post-Natural Disturbance Forest Retention Guidance, and other policies
  • Jason Fisher, Vice President of Fibre for Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. - Viable solutions, Wood Waste, and the Role of Secondary Users


Keynote: Dr. Paul Hessburg: Research Landscape Ecologist with U.S. Forest Service - Landscape-level Planning in Fire-prone Forests

Panel Speakers:

  • Jeff Mycock: Chief Forester BC for West Fraser Mills Ltd. - Forest Management Paradigm Shifts Required for Forest and Community Resilience
  • Kevin Kriese: Chair of the Forest Practices Board - Landscape-level Planning and Wildfire Hazard Abatement: Shovel Lake Fire Case Study

Capstone Plenary Panel: Northern Initiative Community Representatives


Regional Panel Speakers:

  • BC Wildfire Service and MFLNRO&RD
  • Babine Lake and Burns Lake Community Forests
  • Scientists speaking to Landscape level fire restoration


Conference Follow-Up:

  • BVRC to finalize and circulate conference proceedings to the NCWR participants.
  • BVRC to circulate a draft 'open letter to government' among NCWR participants, for their review and signature prior to sending to government (this letter includes more details on the 11 topic areas).
  • NCWR participants and others to commit meaningful financial contributions to sustain the follow-up actions.
  • BVRC would consider hosting a follow-up conference in 6 months to discuss actions taken, and next steps.

Read the full Conference Report.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions, advice, or suggestions. Otherwise, please stay tuned for next steps. We look forward to continuing to work with you all on this important initiative.