Sign In

Remember Me

Fire Circles

Fire Circles provide an opportunity to advance important wildland fire science and management issues through discussions, working groups, or round tables. Some of these discussions follow special sessions. All interested attendees are invited to participate. Fire Circles are scheduled for Dec 6 and 7 in the afternoon time blocks (see draft schedule).

Organizers: Susan Prichard, University of Washington School of Environmental and Forest Sciences; Cristina Eisenberg, Oregon State University in the College of Forestry; Marc-André Parisien, Canadian Forest Service

Given their immense cultural and ecological value of forests, strategies for sustaining old and mature forests under climate change are being carefully considered, including a recent Executive Order by President Biden (14702: Strengthening the Nation’s Forests, Communities, and Local Economies). In this fire circle, we will discuss threats to the conservation of forests across the United States and the role of place-based stewardship and ecocultural fire in restoring and enhancing resilience of forests to climate change.

The goal of this Fire Circle is to discuss current challenges to the conservation of forests under climate change. We  will introduce an ongoing project that is weaving together Indigenous Knowlege and western science to highlight place-based examples of stewardship and adaptation strategies to climate change. A key emphasis of this discussion will be on ecocultural restoration of cultural burning and stewardship in adapting not only forests to climate change but the communities who live within them. We will also discuss how conservation strategies that prioritize static reserves are increasingly questioned under climate change and wildfires.

Organizers: Thea Maria Carlson, Santa Rosa Junior College; Ashley Grupenhoff, UC Davis; Lindsay Dailey, Tribal EcoRestoration Alliance; Hannah Lopez, Audubon Canyon Ranch; M. R. O’Connor, Author and Journalist; José Luis Duce-Aragüés, The Watershed Research and Training Center

To get more good fire on the ground, multi-stakeholder collaborative prescribed and cultural burning is essential. In this interactive conversation, fire practitioners will share how they have forged meaningful partnerships, and challenges they face in bringing people together across sectors to tend the land together with fire.

With mounting catastrophic wildfires and an urgent need to get as much good fire on the ground as possible for both ecosystem health and community resilience, it’s time to break the boundaries that have long existed between private landowners, state and federal agencies, tribal nations, parks, universities, land trusts, and community-minded citizens. Multi-stakeholder collaborative prescribed and cultural burning is gaining ground, and in this interactive conversation, we will invite good fire practitioners to share stories of how they have successfully forged meaningful partnerships as well as challenges and hurdles they face in bringing people together across sectors to tend the land together with fire. Anyone who is involved with cultural or prescribed fire is welcome and encouraged to participate. Come with your stories and questions and get ready to make new connections to weave cross-sector relationships through the conversation.

Organizers: Tara Harmon, UC Merced; Crystal Kolden, University of California, Merced

This Fire Circle is a discussion about co-stewarding land and fire with indigenous communities in California. We aim to bring together indigenous and non-indigenous attendees to discuss the wide variety of successful partnerships and the benefits and drawbacks of each approach. This discussion will help inform future workshops and research.

This Fire Circle will be facilitated by researchers from UC Merced who are interested in developing future workshops and resources for co-stewardship of Indigenous fire. Government-to-government agreements are not feasible for all Indigenous communities in California, so co-managing land with other types of partners, including other tribes, is essential to continuing traditional practices. However, there are few resources for both land managers and Indigenous partners to guide the development of these agreements. 

This Fire Circle will provide an opportunity for participants to discuss partnerships of many forms, share questions and experience, and hopefully network with each other to expand the capacity for cultural fire in California. The facilitators hope to gain a better understanding of the most essential questions and topics to be covered in future workshops.

Any attendees who are interested in, or who have experience in co-stewardship with Indigenous partners in California are welcome to join. We are particularly interested in hearing from Indigenous participants, professionals who have experience forming collaborative partnerships, and fire practitioners. The discussion will be oriented around California’s unique tribal history and politics, but attendees from other states are welcome to participate. 

Organizers: Autumn Ellison, Northwest Fire Science Consortium; Carol Baldwin, Great Plains; Karen Dante-Wood, Joint Fire Science Program; Molly McCormick, Southwest Fire Science Consortium; Eugénie MontBlanc, Great Basin Fire Science Exchange; Autym Shafer, California Fire Science Consortium; Alison York, Alaska Fire Science Consortium

What is a Fire Science Exchange? What do they do? Can the Exchanges help my work to have a greater impact? Join us to find out more about how Exchanges work, help identify high priority fire science and management needs, and explore potential collaborations at both national and regional levels.

This Fire Circle will build on the Special Session that highlights efforts from the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) Fire Science Exchange Network (FSEN) since 2010 (Title: 14 years of fire science exchange: Lessons learned and new ideas in fire science communication). Organizers will provide a brief overview of the FSEN, illustrate how Exchanges vary in different places, and facilitate break-out group discussions with representatives from the 15 regional Exchanges across the country. The goal of this Fire Circle is to create a space for discussion around fire science research and communication needs and identify how Fire Science Exchanges can address these needs while highlighting the importance of two-way exchange between scientists and managers. We hope to gain a better understanding of regional audiences as well as where attendees go for fire science information, what challenges and opportunities they perceive in their regions, how valuable they feel different types of science delivery methods and products are, and the areas where they feel fire science research is lacking. We hope to engage diverse managers, scientists, community leaders, and practitioners in this discussion and encourage all interested attendees regardless of their familiarity with the FSEN or if they were able to attend the Special Session.

Organizers: Emily Jane Davis, Oregon State University; Carrie Berger, Oregon State University; Jennifer Fawcett, North Carolina State University; Katie Wollstein, OSU Extension Fire Program

This Fire Circle offers a space for dialogue among Extension peers and with fire managers, scientists, and community practitioners. Topics will include the role of Extension in applying fire science, how to respond to community needs, and how to develop strategic approaches.

The goals of this fire circle are to complement the special session focused on wildland fire Extension efforts by creating a space for dialogue among Extension peers and with fire managers, scientists, and community practitioners.

We encourage anyone to attend, including those who joined or were unable to attend the Extension special session, those who already collaborate with Extension on fire topics, and those who are new to learning about Extension and would like to explore new ways to increase the application and impact of their work. This dialogue will focus on the following objectives; attendees will:

  • Gain new understanding of the bridging roles Extension can play in reaching new audiences
  • Be able to reflect on their organizations’ current assets and outreach needs, and identify opportunities for filling these needs
  • Engage in peer learning about developing strategic focus and direction for their programs of work, including how to evaluate outcomes and impact
  • Become more familiar with strategies for conducting and applying research that is informed by and responsive local communities’ needs

Organizers: Eric Knapp, USDA Forest Service; Gavin Jones, USDA Forest Service

The need for fuel treatments in western US forests with long-term fire exclusion is widely accepted by scientific experts. However, counter arguments persist and play an outsized role in the media landscape. We will explore why, discuss means of breaking down polarization, and identify zones of agreement. 

Many of the leaders in the fire science/fire ecology fields have, through multiple lines of evidence, concluded that in the long-term absence of fire, forests of the western US are now denser, more uniform, and more fuel loaded, making them prone to uncharacteristically severe wildfires. With this line of thinking, fuel management is then key to improving forest resilience. A vocal minority argue that historical forests were denser than presumed, the extent of high severity fire is unchanged, most of the recent uptick in fire activity is a consequence of climatic warming, and that management to reduce fuels is therefore unnecessary and counterproductive. 

How is it possible that varying camps can interpret the same evidence in very different ways? And that this dichotomy persists despite decades of additional research? Is the scientific process, including the peer review system, broken? Are interpretations of scientific findings not just about numbers and more strongly influenced by our personal values and who pays our salaries than we wish to admit?

This Fire Circle will be an open and respectful discussion facilitated by the organizers. The target audience would be those with strong opinions on either side of this issue, or just curious. The key is being open-minded with an interest in learning more about the perspectives of those with alternative viewpoints. We will roughly divide the time into three blocks, first going over how the scientific process has operated around this issue, then discussing ideas to better value expertise and elevate majority opinion while simultaneously remaining open to new or non-conforming ideas, and finally working on statements of agreement.

Organizers: Timothy Ingalsbee, Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology (FUSEE); Ryan Reed, FireGeneration Collaborative

Expanding opportunities for Indigenous cultural burning raises questions about if and how can Native resource objectives and traditional practices be included in prescribed burn plans and operations. How can the two intentional burning systems share resources on the same project sites in ways that respect Tribal sovereignty and prevent cultural appropriation?

Description Across the globe there has been a surge of interest and vocal support for Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Indigenous fire stewardship, especially among the younger generation. But Indigenous fire practitioners lack access to land, legal authority, and financial resources for conducting cultural burns on their ancestral lands. The revitalization of Indigenous fire stewardship must be promoted with urgency and integrity. How can cultural burning objectives, principles and practices be elevated in prescribed fire projects and programs? Can cultural resource objectives guide burn plans? How can traditional practices of song, ceremony, and fire medicine be included in burn operations? How can these be done in a way that respects Tribal sovereignty, uplifts Tribal culture bearers, and prevents knowledge exploitation and cultural appropriation? Can burn plans and operations be crafted to recognize the inherent value of whole-community and whole-ecology fire tending strategies?

The goal of this Fire Circle is to provide a safe space for the open sharing of ideas, experiences, values, and visions among a mix of Natives and settlers, traditional practitioners and professional managers, elders and youth (and those in between) to explore possibilities for accommodating–not assimilating–Indigenous cultural burning in prescribed fire projects and programs. The outcome of this Fire Circle may result in a list of general principles for fire managers to use in support of Indigenous fire practitioners and cultural burning.

Organizers: Michael C Stambaugh, University of Missouri

This fire circle will review the content of presentations in the special session and aim to identify outstanding questions related to the intersection of fire management and wood products.

The aim of this fire circle is to spend time further exploring fire effects on wood products. Conversations are likely to include topics of wood composition and properties, human perspectives, and the intersections between fire ecology, forest management, and forest products from fire-affected sites. Attendees will hopefully share regional perspectives and observations to better understand information needs.

Organizers: Bradley Massey, FireGeneration Collaborative; Ryan Reed; FireGeneration Collaborative; Ayuthea LaPier, FireGeneration Collaborative; Kyle Trefny, FireGeneration Collaborative

This Fire Circle is for the next generation in fire. We have a significant dependence on the outcomes of climate crises response and land stewardship decisions. The FireGeneration Collaborative aims to connect most-impacted communities with decision-making, center Indigenous and diverse young practitioners in solutions, and transform our generation’s relationship with fire.

We envision a fire world where decision-making centers the most-impacted stakeholders, especially Indigenous communities and diverse young generations. We strive for a transformation in public fire consciousness, matched by a mobilization of young people in equitable, proactive, and resilient solutions. What’s more, we are actively designing what this looks like, and want to involve you!

Our fire circle is geared towards the next generation in fire, with a focus on bridging gaps between young practitioners, frontline communities, and decision-makers. During our circle we look to showcase the ongoing work of FireGen in community organizing, policy, and research, and how students and diverse young people can get involved to reimagine our future with fire.

By connecting with FireGen, young fire practitioners, researchers, and community members can gain access to a supportive and forward-thinking community that amplifies their voices and bridges their experiences with spaces of power. Through collaboration, we can actively contribute to the advancement of wildland fire policy, build agency over our future, and create a resilient, sustainable relationship with fire and land.

Organizers: Sarah Dickson-Hoyle, University of British Columbia; Jen Baron, Pacific Institute of Climate Solutions (PICS) Wildfire & Carbon Project and Canada Wildfire Strategic Network; Kate Kitchens, University of British Columbia; Kelsey Copes-Gerbitz, University of British Columbia

Led by a collective of early career researchers, this Fire Circle aims to bring together fire researchers, practitioners and community members from diverse career stages and backgrounds to collectively envision a new form of transdisciplinary fire research. Framed around four key principles for transdisciplinarity, the session will foster discussion around the need for transformation in fire research and management, the complexity of the ‘fire challenge’ worldwide, and how transdisciplinary research and collaborations can be applied to overcome these challenges.

Transformative change in fire management is urgently needed to address the modern fire challenge and avoid widespread negative impacts on ecosystems and human societies. In response this challenge, researchers have emerged as potential agents of change – not only by generating new knowledge, but by facilitating diverse collaborations and (re)framing problems to allow for the co-creation of solutions. However, research is still largely shaped by certain forms and disciplines of knowledge that are validated by academic systems and colonial institutions, reinforcing entrenched views of fire that do not necessarily reflect the diversity of either academic or non-academic communities. In this context, a new transdisciplinary approach to fire research is needed to overcome siloed expertise and rigid fire management institutions while minimizing negative impacts from fire.

We seek to create a safe space to come together in a process of collective learning through sharing questions, challenges, and opportunities learned from our diverse experiences. This session will also be an opportunity to share challenges and best practices in navigating collaborative and transdisciplinary fire research.

Organizers: Sharon Hood, US Forest Service, Fire Lab; Duncan Lutes, Missoula Fire Sciences Lab, USDA Forest Service; Morgan Varner, Tall Timbers

This fire circle will focus on the process for updating First Order Fire Effects Model (FOFEM), how FOFEM fits into family of software that predicts fire effects and work flow for improvements, ,and how should improvements be prioritized?

Organizer: Don Hankins, California State University Chico / Indigenous Stewardship Network (Facilitator TBD)

The intent of this fire circle is to provide space for continued dialogue with Indigenous practitioners, researchers, and allies. It is a time to make network connections, discuss issues, and seek direction on advancing Indigenous issues within AFE.

Organizers: Molly McCormick, Southwest Fire Science Consortium; Mary Lata, USDA Forest Service

Discussion for those working in conditions resulting from novel invasive species-fire cycles. Our focus is the Sonoran Desert, but discussions will be relevant to and informed by areas facing similar conditions. Discussion topics: strategies for reducing damaging fire effects, post-fire recovery, and creation of new ecological trajectories that guide management.

The Sonoran Desert has been severely destabilized by non-native invasive grasses that alter the natural fire patterns in desert shrublands, which were previously considered fire-resistant. As a result, the frequency and size of wildfires have increased, leading to the progressive replacement of native plants with invasive grasses—a process known as grassification. This shift in vegetation and fire dynamics is also affecting the interaction between desert valleys and forested mountains, creating a new fire mosaic and impacting the wildland-urban interface. Land managers need to better understand the potential ecological trajectories of the Sonoran Desert before and after fire, and to identify management actions given grassification, increased fire, a need to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem function, and protect human communities and infrastructure.

In this fire circle that follows a related session, we will investigate topics related to the novel invasive species- fire cycle. We will focus on the Sonoran Desert, but the discussion will be informed by and relevant to other systems experiencing similar conditions. The format will include an introduction, topic-focused small group discussions where participants will have the opportunity to select up to 3 topic areas, and reporting out. Topic areas may include: strategies for invasive species treatment and fire breaks, conserving refugia and biodiversity, post-fire recovery, and deciphering novel ecological trajectories. The ideas, research, management needs, and information on related working groups will be gathered and used to inform a science synthesis paper sponsored by the Southwest Fire Science Consortium.

Organizers: Matthew P Thompson, USDA Forest Service; Tony Cheng, Colorado Forest Restoration Institute; Jim Menakis, USDA Forest Service

We aim to bring systems thinking to bear to better understand opportunities to improve the wildland fire system and better integrate the Cohesive Strategy pillars. We hope for an earnest and engaging discussion with participation from diverse perspectives.

Our goal is to begin to comprehensively map out the wildland fire system, including its various elements, their purposes, and how they interrelate, to identify points of leverage for meaningful change. The intent is to be integrative in connecting our thinking around landscapes, communities, and responders as well as management approaches before, during, and after fire. Participants can expect interactive facilitated exercises with flip charts and other support materials and the prospect of follow-up discussions and papers.

Organizers: Rebecca A. Koll, University of Exeter; Claire Belcher, University of Exeter; Cindy Looy, University of California, Berkeley

This Fire Circle will expand upon the Origins of fire-adapted traits special session to further the discussion exploring the dynamics of fire-behaviour and plant evolution through time. The session objective is to establish new collaborations that develop and expand relevant research areas capable of enhancing evolutionary fire ecology.

This Fire Circle will expand upon the discussion initiated through the Origins of fire-adapted traits special session presentations exploring the dynamics of fire-behaviour and plant evolution through time. The primary objective of this Fire Circle is to bring together experts across a range of specialties, approaches, and time periods to share ideas on enhancing the field of evolutionary fire ecology. We plan to centre the session on an in-depth, multidisciplinary discussion of the temporal dynamics of fire-behaviour and plant evolution, ultimately delving into the factors shaping plant fitness in the face of our changing climate. This Fire Circle presents an opportunity to establish new collaborations, develop and expand relevant research areas, and debate the current and future directions of the field. These debates and paths forward for will be captured in a shared publication that will be submitted to the Journal of Fire Ecology. Comprehensive knowledge of the factors shaping plant fitness in the face of our changing climate is not solely a matter of academic interest alone but rather key to our understanding of the threats to ongoing planetary habitability challenges. As such, we welcome participation of experts from both academia and industry and spanning deep evolutionary time through to modern day analyses.

Organizers: Adriana Ford, Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society; Abigail Croker, Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society, Imperial College London

This fire circle delves into and acts as a catalyst for active science-management collaborations in the context of wildfires. Participants will engage in a structured networking session through a series of activities to create a globally connected, equitable, diverse, and inclusive fire family for long-term fire science-management impact.

In this fire circle, we aim to delve into, and act as a catalyst for, science-management collaborations in the context of wildfires. The session will begin with structured networking and activities involving participants mapping their aims, expertise, and needs (as a practitioner, institution, researcher etc), and drawing links and connections between participants from different parts of the world. Together we will discuss potential future collaborations between participants, from data and technology sharing, knowledge exchange and joint workshops, to larger projects. Drawing upon participants’ experiences, the fire circle will discuss how to effectively embrace different ways of knowing in such collaborations, and how we can foster equity, inclusivity, and in-situ legacy in fire management and policy.