June 15, 2017

Cranbrook, BC (June 15, 2017) -- The wildfire problem around us is growing as communities expand outward into the interface.  Fuel loads in the forest are getting larger and increasingly the wildfire problem is threatening our human communities, wildlife habitat, and our natural resources. 

The City of Cranbrook and Cranbrook Fire & Emergency Services are pleased to present “The Era of Mega Fires”, hosted by Dr. Paul Hessburg.  This free presentation is coming to Cranbrook on Monday July 10, 2017 from 6 to 9pm in the lecture theatre at the Cranbrook Campus of the College of the Rockies.

The presentation is intended to stimulate discussions of how current science relates to community experiences with wildfire. “Era of Mega Fires” explains how current fire conditions were inadvertently created, and it describes megafires as a core social issue with ecological explanations. Throughout the presentation, tools are identified for homeowners and land managers which can reduce the future severity and impacts of wildfires.

“The problem of wildfire is one we cannot wait to solve itself”, says Wayne Price, Director of Cranbrook Fire & Emergency Services.  “As a fire department we can clearly see the risks that are faced by homeowners, business, governments and communities.  We need to engage all of these groups at all levels to truly find a solution to this problem, and we hope that this presentation starts this process.”

The “Era of Mega Fires” is a 70-minute, multi-media, traveling presentation hosted by Dr. Paul Hessburg. Hessburg is with the Pacific Northwest Research Station, in Wenatchee, Washington, and the University of Washington in Seattle, where he has researched wildfire and landscape ecology for more than 27 years. The presented material comes in the form of fast-moving, short, topic-based talks mixed with compelling video vignettes. Think Ted X mixed with snappy documentary shorts. Megafires are wildfires over 40,000 hectares (100,000 acres) and are exceptionally destructive to communities, wildlife and our natural spaces.

Following the presentation, Dr. Hessburg in partnership with Chief Wayne Price of Cranbrook Fire & Emergency Services, will lead an informative question and answer discussion around topics relevant to Cranbrook and the surrounding region in order to help create local actions and answers to local challenges.

“Research after megafires such as Okanagan Mountain, Slave Lake and Fort McMurray suggest that there is much that homeowners and public land managers can do to reduce wildfire damage,” says Robert Gray of RW Gray Consulting Ltd.  “For homeowners, it means adopting FireSmart principles, and for public land managers it means reducing fuel loads on the broader landscape surrounding our communities.”

For more information about the presentation, please visit http://www.north40productions.com/wildfire.

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