Looking Beyond Fire Suppression

Recently the BC Government allotted $20-million in the 2005/06 budget as an answer to the “Filmon Firestorm 2003 Provincial Review”. Most of that money will go to hiring new government fire fighting crews and equipment.

American wildfire fighters have undergone a major scrutiny after suffering numerous catastrophic fires in the last decade. Many of them now think the remedy may no longer lie in increasing wildfire suppression capacity but in decreasing the forest’s ability to create unnaturally intense wildfires.

speech.pdf

Jerry Williams’ Speech:

“I am humbled to share the podium today with Major General Duncan Lewis and Dr. Fiona Wood. I feel privileged to be in the company of such remarkable individuals.

As a fireman, I am especially humbled to participate in your conference because the American public has come to know Australian and New Zealand firefighters as good friends, willing to help in a time of need. We in the Fire Services believe you to be among the most progressive and most innovative wildland fire managers in the world. I want to thank you, especially, for the study tours, the exchanges, and the firefighting support that you have provided. These experiences have helped build fire professionalism in my country’s ranks.

Before I get started, I also want to thank Rick and Mandy Sneeuwjagt for their generous hospitality and kindness in hosting me on this trip. On my last visit to Australia and New Zealand, as a member of the 1999 Study Tour, several of us found ourselves bouncing along in the back seat of a bus one day when we began talking about the future of wildland fire management. We concluded that, while we’ve come a long ways in ‘operationalizing’ the physical sciences of fire we’ve got a long ways to go with the social and political sciences of fire.

At precisely the time when wildfire potential has never been greater, social expectations for protection have never been higher and political tolerance for failure has never been lower. It’s not the physical science of fire that limits our progress as much as it is our lack of understanding the social and political perspectives that surround wildland fire management. It’s been 5 years, now, since Gary Morgan, Buck Latapie, Murray Dudfield, Rick Gale, and I had that talk. The exchange was important because it got us thinking outside the discipline we know and challenged us with those we don’t.”

Click the ‘speech.doc’ link above to read the entire speech:-

“Reconciling Friction in Policy”
by Jerry Williams
Director, Fire & Aviation Management
United States Forest Service.

Web Link: http://home.vicnet.net.au/~frstfire/docs/reconciling_frictions_in_policy.pdf