Wildfire Risk in Canada with Brian Stocks and Mike Wotton: Friday, April 27, 2007 , by ICLR

The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction is pleased to invite you to participate in a workshop with Brian Stocks, President, Wildfire Investigations Limited and Mike Wotton, Research Scientist, Canadian Forest Service.

Despite the development of sophisticated forest fire management systems over the past century, large forest fires are ubiquitous across Canada, particularly in the boreal forest zone where natural fire is essential to ecosystem maintenance and structure. On average, 8,000 fires burn over 2.5 million hectares annually.

Climate change is expected to be most significant in the more continental regions of northern Canada and Siberia, and there is emerging evidence that this process is already underway. Research into the interaction between climate change and boreal fires indicates strongly that forest fires can be expected to increase significantly in both frequency and severity as the climate changes. The result would be larger areas burned across the boreal zone, a decrease in terrestrial carbon storage, and potentially positive feedback to climate change. Recent evidence suggests that smoke transport from boreal fires over long distances is affecting the Arctic environment and climate, and causing health concerns in urban centers.

Brian Stock and Mike Wotton will each give a presentation at this workshop. Brian will focus on the global boreal fire issues, and Mike Wotton will speak about emerging fire issues in Canada and the need for a new Canadian Wildland Fire Strategy.

Brian Stocks, President, B.J. Stocks Wildfire Investigations

During the first twenty years of his career, Mr. Stocks� research activity covered many aspects of forest fire research, but focused primarily on field investigations designed to determine the influence of fuels and weather on forest fire behavior. This involved conceiving and conducting experimental burning programs in major Canadian forest fuel types, and documenting fire behavior on numerous Canadian wildfires. This research contributed directly to the development of the Canadian Forest Fire Behavior Prediction System, a subsystem of the Canadian Forest fire Danger Rating System (CFFDRS). The CFFDRS is in use throughout Canada and has been adopted by many countries internationally.

Over the next fifteen years, Mr. Stocks became increasingly involved in international, cross-disciplinary research in the area of forest fires and global change, including early investigations into the potential impacts of climate change on boreal fire regimes in North America and Russia, and the extent and impact of vegetation fires globally. This has involved leading Canadian scientific delegations on experimental burning programs in Alaska, Siberia, South Africa, and Kenya. Mr. Stocks has also conceived and coordinated international, multi-disciplinary fire experiments in Canada (e.g. Ontario Mass Fire Experiment, 1987-1990; NWT International Crown Fire Modelling Experiment, 1997-2000) designed to address research needs on high-intensity fire behavior and impacts.

Mike Wotton, Research Scientist, Canadian Forest Service

Mike Wotton began his career with the Canadian Forest Service in 1990 in the fire research group at the Petawawa National Forestry Institute and is currently a Research Scientist for the CFS stationed in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Toronto, where he leads the fire behaviour research program. His current research focuses on the development of fuel moisture, fire occurrence and fire behaviour models for use in daily operational fire management activities as well as in the development of climate change impacts scenarios for Canada.

  • When: Friday, April 27, 2007 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Where: Insurance Bureau of Canada, 151 Yonge Street, 18th floor boardroom, Toronto.
  • RSVP: Tracy Waddington (416) 364-8677 (twaddington@iclr.org).

Friday Forum

ICLR seeks to strengthen the insurance community�s awareness of the risks associated with natural hazards. Each month we will host an informal discussion of current research and industry issues related to natural hazards. Attendance will be limited to ensure that participants can directly contribute to the discussion. The cost is $75 ($150 for non-members, if space permits) for each forum. Business casual dress.

About ICLR

ICLR is a research institute. Established by Canada�s property and casualty insurers, we are working to reduce disaster losses. The Institute is internationally recognized for our leadership in multi-disciplinary disaster prevention research. Quality research provides the foundation for better public policy and disaster management. We use research findings to help you better understand the hazards that you are vulnerable to, and identify simply steps you can take to better protect your family and your home. More at http://www.iclr.org/.