You don’t have to be around the wildfire business very long to understand that it is not just a problem in the United States. Destructive wildfires are global yet the story of losses and the potential solutions are often similar, and always local.
This year, the sixth annual International Wildfire Conference is being held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Korea is the first Asian nation to hold the gathering, and NFPA’s Michele Steinberg, Wildland Fire Operations Division Manager is on the scene. Michele is presenting on Firewise principles in action as well as acting as a moderator for other sessions.
Notable attendees are South Korea’s Minister of the Korea Forest Service, Shin Won-Sop, and Margareta Wahlstrom, special representative to the U.N. secretary-general for disaster risk reduction. Well known keynote speakers from the U.S. include author Stephen Pyne, social scientist Sarah McCaffrey, and Tom Harbour, Chief of Fire and Aviation Management for the U.S. Forest Service. Korea's own Director of Fire Prevention and Control Ko Kiyeon, Winston Trollope, Working with Fire South Africa, and Johann Goldammer, Director of the Global Fire Monitoring Center help round out the keynote lineup.
The theme for this year’s conference is, “Fire of the Past, Fire in the Future”. The conference will focus on topics such as: the global natural and cultural fire heritage, protecting the global natural and cultural heritage from fire and working towards a global cohesive fire management strategy. The conference provides a forum for fire management leaders, professionals, policy makers, researchers and practitioners worldwide to discuss critical fire issues affecting communities, resources and ecosystems.
Minister Shin wants to place Korea in a leadership role in forest fire management and control and sponsoring this conference certainly goes a long way in achieving that goal.
Globally, we all share in the effort to share knowledge and information to reduce the risk and loss from destructive wildfires.