USA — MISSOULA- Sometimes it might seem like the American West is faced with the most challenges when it comes to fighting wildfires.
But the Missoula-based International Association of Wildland Fire is expanding efforts to have experts from around the world share what they’re learning when it comes to managing wildfires.
The IAWF was formed 22 years ago with the mission of bringing more collaboration among fire agencies across the globe to share research into fire science, and experiences in dealing with wildfires.
The group is just completing its Global Wildfire Awareness Week for the Northern Hemisphere and it recently wrapped up a major conference in Seattle last month analyzing the “human dimension” of wildfire. That’s the expanding study into how humans react and interact with the threat of wildfire.
The group is also sponsored the 12th annual International Wildfire Safety Summit in Sydney, Australia in September.
Spokeswoman Paula Nelson says with massive wildfires now burning almost year around, the group believes sharing research and data is more critical than ever to coping with fire.
“Yes, we have a whole system based on our Internet to begin with. But then we hold webinars as well as conferences to try and get the researchers together, to get the latest science out to people, the fire professionals, the leaders who are out there. And involve communities. We’re trying to span the globe so that we share what we learn, rather than each having to learn it on their own,” she explained.
Here in the Rockies, the IAWF is actively involved in not only promoting fire science and research, but supporting programs that help residents be more prepared for dealing with wildfire.