Satellite imagery shows change in fire intensity late in the day Sunday, May 15;

Satellite imagery shows change in fire intensity late in the day Sunday, May 15;
Federal government must fund the Canadian Wildland Fire Strategy

25 May 2011

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Canada — TORONTO, May 24, 2011 /CNW/ – The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) will hold a press conference to discuss several aspects of the Slave Lake wildfires.

Where: ICLR, 20 Richmond Street East, Suite 210, Toronto
When: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 2 p.m.

Brian Stocks of B.J. Stocks Wildfire Investigations Ltd. will conduct a graphic analysis of satellite imagery to illustrate the extent and nature of the wildfires in the Slave Lake area on Sunday May 15, with emphasis on the extreme fire behaviour exhibited in a short time between the fire escaping and it entering the town of Slave Lake.

He will then discuss the need to move forward with the Canadian Wildland Fire Strategy (CWFS), a plan drafted in 2005 in response to the devastating British Columbia wildfires of 2003, and endorsed by federal, provincial and territorial forest ministers to commit to a new common vision, shared principles, and a proposed path of action to enhance wildland fire management in the country. Despite endorsement at both levels of government and strong recognition internationally as an innovative and essential approach to managing escalating wildland fire activity and impacts, the CWFS has not been implemented as envisioned in 2005. This has been largely due to the federal government’s unwillingness to commit its share of funding agreed to when the CWFS was signed six years ago.

Under the auspices of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM), provincial and territorial fire management agencies have continued to work on public education, fuels and hazard mitigation, and replacement of aging staff and equipment. However, this has been a piece-meal effort, and has been severely hampered by a lack of funding. The Slave Lake fire is yet another reminder that wildland fire impacts are increasing, a fact recognized many years ago, while the widely-acclaimed CWFS remains to be implemented.

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Established in 1998 by Canada’s property and casualty insurers, ICLR is an independent, not-for-profit research institute based in Toronto and at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. ICLR is a centre of excellence for disaster loss prevention research and education. ICLR’s research staff is internationally recognized for pioneering work in a number of fields including wind and seismic engineering, atmospheric sciences, water resources engineering and economics. Multi-disciplined research is a foundation for ICLR’s work to build communities more resilient to disasters.

Brian Stocks served with the Canadian Forest Service in several capacities for almost 40 years, most recently as senior research scientist, before retiring in 2005. He is currently President of B.J. Stocks Wildfire Investigations and is adjunct professor, fire science, at the University of Toronto. He has a B.A. in forestry from the University of Toronto and an M.A. in forestry from the University of California, Berkeley.

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