Fires are a natural component of many of Canada's forested ecosystems, yet they pose a threat to public safety, property and forest resources. Forest fires cause millions of dollars worth of damage and sometimes force the evacuation of affected communities. Affiliated industries can also be heavily affected; for example, construction labour costs have risen dramatically in Kelowna, BC, because of the need to replace the many houses that were destroyed by fire in August of 2003. Such problems will be exacerbated as more homes and cottages are established in and near forested areas and as climate change alters forest vegetation.
Currently, there is a very limited understanding of the changes in diversity and structure of forests as a consequence of fire regime and landscape change. Studies that address these issues are critical, however, in view of future changes in fire regimes because of climate shifts.
This project is concerned with fire and timber supply management and the application of advanced statistical methods to bear on predicting fire occurrence and fire spread and the analysis of local fire histories.