Upcoming Dr. Mike Wotton Lecture: UofT Where You Are: Flames in the Forest – Fire Management and Science
Join U of T alumni and friends for a free online presentation by Dr. Mike Wotton on the important role that fire plays in Canadian and other landscapes
With each passing spring and summer, community evacuations and home losses due to wildfires have become regular stories in local and international news cycle. It seems like an increasing problem. Wildfire, however, is not new to the forests of Canada, quite the opposite. Over thousands of years, our forests have adapted to and even come to depend on large, high-intensity, stand-replacing fires to maintain their ecological health.
Professor Mike Wotton will discuss the important role that fire plays in the Canadian landscape. He will contrast fires in Canada with those we see in other fire-prone locations around the world. This will serve as a foundation for discussing the complex task of managing wildfires in Canada’s vast forested landscape, striking a balance between safeguarding the public and allowing fire to fulfill its natural role wherever possible. Professor Wotton will highlight the causes of fires in Canadian forests which will allow us to delve into the dynamics of lightning fires, exploring how they occur, how they can be better predicted, and why they are responsible for the majority of the forest area burned in Canada each year.
He will further discuss the research that he and his colleagues are doing to provide science to support fire management planning and the prediction of critical aspects of the fire management activities. By the end of the presentation you will be left with a broader understanding of fires, and how science can be used to assist the increasingly difficult job of wildfire management.
Professor Mike Wotton is a Senior Research Scientist with the Canadian Forest Service (Natural Resources Canada) currently stationed at the University of Toronto where he is a Professor in the Institute of Forestry and Conservation at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. He works closely with fire management agencies throughout Canada to improve our understanding of environmental processes critically shaping wildfire ignition and behaviour, and to use this knowledge to help inform wildfire response planning and operational strategies. He also uses these approaches to assess the effects of climate change on future wildfire activity and to identify strategies for mitigating and adapting to the growing wildfire challenges anticipated to affect Canadians in the near future.