Bulkley Valley Research Centre - Science in the Public Interest

Northern Conference for Wildfire Resilience

British Columbia just experienced two of the worst wildfire seasons in recent history - with climate conditions conducive to more severe fires forecast for the future. This has led to several province wide reviews (e.g. the 2017 Abbott / Chapman report, the 2004 Filmon Report), and a growing awareness of the need for a radically new approach to land management to protect resources and people and a commitment by government to address the issues.

The conference was a collaborative, working conference hosted by the Bulkley Valley Research Centre to bring together key local players to promote a collective response to partnerships, practices, policies, and planning paradigms that will increase the resiliency of Northern BC’s forests and communities to wildfires. The NCWR participants came to consensus on the need for a new approach to wildfire management. Additionally, key provincial government officials committed to a landscape-level planning pilot to increase landscape wildfire resiliency.

Learn more about the Northern Conference for Wildfire Resilience hosted by the BVRC in April 2019.

Conference Follow-Up:

  1. BVRC to finalize and circulate conference proceedings to the NCWR participants.
  2. 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).
  3. NCWR participants and others to commit meaningful financial contributions to sustain the follow-up actions.
  4. 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.

Conference Proceedings


Policies for Forest Resilience - Shane Berg, Deputy Chief Forester for Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Progress update on the Abbott/Chapman Action Plan - Cameron Lewis, Provincial Government Executive Lead, Emergency Management Review.

Challenges and How Organizations are Responding - Diane Mackay, BC Wildfire Services - Fire Centre Manager, Northwest Fire Centre.

Holistic, Collaborative Ecosystem Restoration – Opportunities and Challenges - Dr. Karen Price & Dave Daust.

Landscape-level Planning and Wildfire Hazard Abatement: Shovel Lake Fire Case Study - Kevin Kriese, Chair of the Forest Practices Board.

Babine Lake Community Forest Community Wildfire Protection Plan - Peter Tweedie RPF, Tyhee Forest Consultants Ltd.

Landscape-level planning in fire-prone forests: Seven Core Principles - Dr. Paul Hessburg, Research Landscape Ecologist, U.S. Forest Service Research & Devel. 

Telegraph Creek Wildfires: Fire preparedness, Response and Recovery - Chief Rick McLean, Tahltan Band Council.

Transformative changes to wildfire and forest management - Dr. Lori Daniels, Professor, Forest and Conservation Sciences, Faculty of Forestry UBC.

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

BC Wildfire Service and MFLNRORD: Challenges and How Organizations are Responding - Brent May, District Manager Nadina Forest District, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

The Role of Partial Cutting in Sustainable ForestryMarie-Lou Lefrancois, MSc RPF, Wildlife Resource Specialist North Area


Prior to the conference, the BVRC teamed up with Future Ecologies to present a special podcast in preparation for the conference. It features conference keynote speakers Chief Maureen Chapman, Dr. Lori Daniels, Tony Pesklevits, and Dr. Paul Hessburg. You can listen or download an mp3 below:

Common Ground: Primer for the BVRC Northern Conference for Wildfire Resilience

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 part 2 below:

Common Ground: Part 2