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Wildfire Risk Mitigation

University of Northern British Columbia

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Short Course Description

Wildfire risk is projected to increase in many forested areas under climate change. Long term mitigation strategies need to focus on adapting our forests to these changing conditions. This will entail evaluating how we plan, use and manage our forests at both the stand and landscape scale. This course is designed to demonstrate the thought process, and component steps, that need to be considered when managing forests under increased wildfire risk. This will include assessing risk, evaluating how forest structure and fire behavior are projected to change under climate change, and overviewing a range of management options. The aim of the course is to support participants’ ability to develop innovation management approaches for mitigating wildfire risk while simultaneously managing for other forest values.

Course Modules

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Course Outline


All modules will include pre-recorded material, associated readings, and hands-on examples.  We will overview the background theory associate with each topic, as well as using operational examples to demonstrate management principles and how they are implemented.


Module 1

Forest resilience, and managing forests to reduce the frequency, severity and magnitude of forest disturbances

In this first module we will overview wildfires through the lens of disturbance ecology, and discuss the relationships between wildfires and forest dynamics.  We will then introduce the concepts of forest resistance and resilience, and overview how “forest resilience” relates to wildfire mitigation.


Module 2

Fire risk in a changing climate

You will learn the basis of fire risk assessments and overview the basics of fire behavior.  We will then evaluate how forest composition and structure relates to fire risk, and discuss the direct and indirect impacts that climate change will have on fire risk and fire behavior.

Module 3

Assessing wildfire risk and developing forward looking mitigation options

In this module we will cover how fuel loading is assessed and how it relates to wildfire risk assessment.  We will then overview the attributes of fire resistant forests and discuss how different management practices, fuel reduction practices, and stocking options  can aid in the development more resistant forests.

Module 4

Mitigating fire risk while managing for multiple forest values

We will discuss stand and landscape scale approaches to fire management, and how they interact.   We will then begin evaluating how forest planning and management that is done to mitigate wildfire risk can be incorporated into multi-objective forest management plans.

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Course Design Statements

  • ✓ Online


Biography picture for Dr. Che Elkin, Associate Professor at the University of Northern British Columbia, and FRBC-Slocan Mixedwood Ecology and Management Chair

Dr. Che Elkin, Associate Professor at the University of Northern British Columbia, and FRBC-Slocan Mixedwood Ecology and Management Chair

Dr. Che Elkin is an Associate Professor at the University of Northern British Columbia, and the FRBC-Slocan Mixedwood Ecology and Management Chair. His research examines how climate and landscape disturbances interact to influence forest dynamics, landscape connectivity, and the spatial distribution of forest ecosystem services. His research also evaluates how forest management practices may be modified to increase the long term ecological and economic resilience of forest systems.