Revitalizing Indigenous fire management and fire-resilient forests in northern British Columbia

There is a growing need for improved biophysical and social methods to manage wildfire risk in northern British Columbia (BC) as uncharacteristically large wildfires exceed government capacities for their control and suppression. My research approach weaves historical (tree rings and fire scars) and contemporary fire data (remote sensing) with Indigenous Ecological Knowledge (IEK) to map and validate historic fire activity in subboreal forests across northern BC. As a Mitacs Elevate postdoctoral fellow, I will partner with the Bulkley Valley Research Centre (BVRC), the University of British Columbia (UBC), and First Nations partners to build a holistic understanding of historic fire activity and incorporate Indigenous fire knowledge into current wildfire planning. The objectives of my research are to examine the implications of long-term fire suppression on the resiliency of current forests to wildfire, address ways to build capacity to revitalize Indigenous fire management systems and evaluate sociopolitical barriers for wildfire training and prescribed fire. Given the anticipated increase in fire severity and length of the fire season, my research will directly impact community wildfire preparedness in an understudied region of BC. It is more important than ever to have multiple experiences and voices participating in creating fire-resilient forests and fire-adapted communities.

Intern: 
Kira Michelle Hoffman
Faculty Supervisor: 
Lori Daniels;Andrew Trant
Province: 
British Columbia
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