A COMPREHENSIVE VIEW ON THE FUTURE OF WILDLAND FIREFIGHTING
(THE NEW NORMAL)
Written and Compiled by Dr. Matt Rahn and Terence McHale
On June 16 & 17, 2014 – CAL FIRE Local 2881 hosted their first California Wildfires and Statewide Challenges Symposium in Sacramento, California. Community experts from the federal, state and local levels accepted invitations to attend the symposium. Topics ranged from environmental change to land management to firefighter staffing and safety. The format was individual presentations followed by roundtable discussions. No one arrived at the symposium with a pre-set agenda or a preconceived notion of what the ultimate outcomes would be. The idea was simple enough – allow the experts to honestly view the California landscape as it relates to wild land fires and encourage common sense conclusions. The robust discussions were insightful. A universal conclusion was that urbanization has profoundly changed the California wild land environment, forever, and that we are a generation behind urban strategies for fire suppression and response when dealing with wild land fires. A concomitant view is that the risks are multiplying as the urban/wild land interface is abrogated by increased development and natural factors such as drought and global warming contribute to multiple, inevitable fires that singularly would once have been viewed as cataclysmic.
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