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Wicked Problem, New Solutions: Our Fire, Our Problem

Year Published: 2016

This conference is being presented to bring focus to the many issues associated with fuels, fire behavior, large wildfires, and the future of fire management.

Much attention is being given to wildland fire management. It seems with each passing year we recognize escalating complexity, increasing risk, and mounting challenges. Wildland fire management cannot respond to current and future challenges without actively enlarging its body of knowledge, experience, and capabilities. Changing situations, what many would characterize as worsening situations, must be anticipated and responded to. Predictive entities continue to forecast worsening fire seasons and continued droughts leading to expectations of increasing numbers of fires, area burned, burning intensities, and duration of wildfire activity.

As all of these elements of wildland fire are manifested, we see that simply put, this is a wicked problem. How this occurred, and what can be done about it are important considerations for future strategic planning and operational management. A significant number of research reports, national leader presentations, political hearings, accountability reports, strategic plans, and forward-looking plans state the problem and actions for the future. It is commonly reported that the most extensive and serious problem related to the health of wildland areas is the over-accumulation of vegetation, which has caused an increasing number of large, intense, uncontrollable and destructive wildfires.

Significant issues abound. New solutions are needed. Obvious targets like increased funding exist, but it is important to realize that short-term fixes are less likely to have success and longterm commitments, strategies, and actions are necessary. Management of fuel complexes; accelerated fuel treatments; preparation of communities to withstand wildfire; incorporation of learning, experience, emerging science and technology; as well as sustainable funding for wildfire suppression and fuel treatments are vital for success.

Citation: International Association of Wildland Fire, 2016, Proceedings of the 5th International Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference, Portland, OR and Melbourne, Australia: 645 p.
Topic(s): Fire Behavior, Fire Communication & Education, Fuels, Human Dimensions of Fire Management, Risk
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Conference Proceedings
NRFSN number: 18393
Record updated: Nov 13, 2018