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Restoring the West Conference features fire for the first time

October 21st, 2015 Posted in Opinion

For the first time since it was founded in 2006, an annual conference on western wilderness restoration will be focused on fire.

“Wildland fire has become a huge issue,” said Darren McAvoy, a co-chairman of the Restoring the West Conference, which will be held at the Eccles Conference Center Oct. 28 to 29. “The allocation to fire in the USDA forest service annual budget historically was under 20 percent, while now it is upwards of 50 percent.”

The conference is set to focus on human use of fire to manage forest vegetation and the recent change in fire management protocols. Land managers, scientists and other leading experts in this field will be discussing how restoration and fire affect climate change and drought, and increase fuel loads and disease-stricken trees.

“Fire is a very important tool in restoration, and it is also an ecological process,” McAvoy said. “We hope to further our understanding of this topic by sharing knowledge from a variety of managers and scientists from around the west.”

Attendees will include researchers, agency employees, private and public land managers, fire scientists, students and fire science educators.

“The goal of this conference is to improve natural resource management in relation to wildland fire,” McAvoy said. “We seek to blend knowledge and experience from researchers and managers, so that each goes home with something new in their pocket that they can apply to their field of work.”

The two-day event will feature a research poster session and presentations from top scientists throughout the west. The session is a way for any participant to showcase research regarding fire ecology, fire management or other disciplines related to fire.

“Anyone is welcome to and can present a poster,” said Megan Dettenmaier, the poster session coordinator. “We have a wide diversity of poster presentations.”

The poster abstracts can be found in the conference booklet, which is available at http://restoringthewest.org/includes/ProgramBook2015.pdf.

Registration and an agenda for the conference can be found at restoringthewest.org.

Brooke Bell, Kyle Downey, Diego Mendiola, Dylan Harlow, Bo Lamb and Lee Johnson contributed to this report.

-mdl

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