MISSOULA – It’s a week of presentations, discussions and networking at the 2018 Fire Continuum at the University of Montana.
For those attending, it’s a rare opportunity to meet with a wide spectrum of experts all working toward wildland fire management.
“There are some of the greatest minds and some of the greatest modelers who are looking at fire behavior all here sharing their latest work. So, we can all talk about where is the state of this science and the state of the art and where is it going to be going over the next several years,” says Director of Fire Science and Climate Adaptation for San Diego Gas and Electric, Brian D’Agostino.
A more recent focus in wildland fire discussions is taking a more comprehensive approach to fire knowledge. From planning to implementation to response, Fire Continuum organizers say the ability to communicate among multiple organizations is important moving forward.
“When we talk about wildland fire, it’s not just about the fire itself. It’s the before and the during and the after, and they’re all equally important," said Margie Brown, a member of the International Association of Wildland Fire. "If we aren’t able to promote and assure understanding and comprehension of that information, then it’s really going nowhere.”
Considering the size and destruction caused by wildfires across the globe over the last few years, especially in 2017, protecting the population through planning and preparation is being focused on now more than ever.
D’Agostino says the ability to navigate in this new area of mega-fires can be applied not just to his home state, but all across the country and beyond, including right here in western Montana.
“2017 is marked with the most destructive wildfire in California history, but also the largest," D’Agostino said. "The better we understand the problems, the better we can operate safely and reliably when we see these times of critical fire danger.”
Organizers feel this might be the most dynamic and influential wildland fire management continuums of its kind.