Returning to Burning: Boundary Spanners Needed to Support Innovative Solutions to Wildfire

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Location: Via Zoom

About this seminar

A key challenge in western Canada is how to manage wildfire risk and support the application of cultural and prescribed fire across regional, provincial and Indigenous territorial boundaries. Often roles and responsibilities for proactive fire management are unevenly distributed or siloed among organizations and individuals, with very little incentive placed on collective action. Recently, there has been a surge in interest in knowledge translation and exchange, such as efforts to connect Indigenous knowledge to western science, and a transdisciplinary approach with organizations and individuals that span knowledge boundaries. Despite this interest, knowledge boundaries and their translation remain rare and largely undervalued in fire ecology and management in Western Canada. In this seminar we will discuss how we can tackle these complex challenges and learn to better co-exist with fire through: 1) co-developing proactive solutions, 2) empowering underrepresented voices and perspectives, and 3) finding the intersection between bottom up and top down pressures to inform policy and decision-making on the landbase.

About the presenters

Kira Hoffman is a professional fire ecologist and former wildland firefighter. Kira’s research focuses on how humans have used fire for millennia to manage and enhance their natural surroundings. She uses transdisciplinary methods to understand how present-day forests have been shaped by stewardship techniques such as burning and how ongoing fire suppression has eroded the resiliency of landscapes. She is currently a jointly appointed Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of British Columbia and the Bulkley Valley Research Centre.

Kelsey Copes-Gerbitz is an applied fire ecologist and social scientist who received her PhD in Forestry from the University of British Columbia in 2021. Kelsey’s research focuses on enhancing community resilience to wildfire through proactive wildfire management and community-led wildfire response in BC. Kelsey is an advocate for connecting diverse forms of expertise to address modern wildfire challenges, and collaborates with Indigenous and local communities, the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society, BC Community Forests, and BC Wildfire Service.