WILDFIRE AND CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE
RESEARCH ECOLOGIST - WENATCHEE, WASHINGTON
Paul Hessburg is a Research Landscape Ecologist with the USDA Forest Service, Pacific North West Research Station, where he has worked since 1993. He leads a research team to explore climate and wildfire influences on forest vegetation and fuel patterns, wildfire resilience mechanisms, fuel succession influences on wildfire behavior, and decision support tool development for forestry applications. Paul holds a Ph.D. in Botany and Plant Pathology from Oregon State University (1984), and a B.S. in Forestry from the University of Minnesota (1978). In 2017 he received the Pacific North West Station and USDA Chief’s Distinguished Scientist awards. He lives in Wenatchee, WA, is married with grown kids, and he and his wife Mary have five nearly perfect grandchildren.
JOHN BAILEY, PhD
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR IN FOREST ENGINEERING RESOURCES MANAGEMENT - CORVALLIS, OREGON
John Duff Bailey, Ph.D. Professor of Silviculture and Fire Management Maybelle Clark MacDonald Endowed Professor of Teaching Excellence College of Forestry. John received his BS and MF from Virginia Tech (as a native Virginian), then worked for 6+ years with the Environmental Protection Agency in Corvallis, Oregon, on forest responses to pollution and climate stress. He returned to school for a PhD in Silviculture at Oregon State University, then joined the faculty at Northern Arizona University for nine years, working in semi-arid ponderosa pine silviculture, fuels management and ecological restoration. John returned to OSU in 2006 to continue work on fuels/fire management and ecosystem restoration in drier forest types, as well as resume research on multi-story management in mixed forest types. Recent research focuses on the effects of large-scale wildfire and how to minimize its adverse impacts given an uncertain climatic future.
WILDLAND FIRE SCIENCE PROFESSOR - EDMONTON, ALBERTA
Mike Flannigan is a Professor of Wildland Fire with the Department of Renewable Resources at the University of Alberta and the director of the Canadian Partnership for Wildland Fire Science (currently a three- way partnership with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Natural Resources Canada and the University of Alberta). Dr. Flannigan's primary research interests include fire and weather/climate interactions, including the potential impact of climatic change, lightning-ignited forest fires and landscape fire modelling. He has been studying fire for over 35 years and has published over 200 papers.
MURRAY WILSON, RPF
WOODLAND MANAGER - VERNON, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Murray is part of Tolko’s Corporate Forestry group and is currently Manager, Stewardship and Tenures based out of Vernon, B.C. He is actively engaged on the policy side of the 2017 wildfire salvage efforts in the Cariboo and Thompson/Okanagan Regions. He has worked in a variety of forestry roles over the last 30 years, including Forest Technician, Logging Supervisor, Operations Forester and Woodlands Manager. His Kootenay experience includes working in Nakusp, Salmo and Castlegar. Murray is a Registered Professional Forester, has a diploma in Forest Technology from Selkirk College and a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from the University of Alberta.
CLIMATE CHANGE CONSULTANT - NELSON, BRITISH COLUMBIA
During Mel's academic career, his research focused on past climate change and vegetation history in western North America and he taught courses in weather and climate, climate change, paleoclimatology and geology. He directed an international initiative (sponsored by the Swiss Academy of Science) that focuses on global change issues in mountain regions worldwide and became involved in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment as a lead author of a chapter that examines atmospheric conditions and trends in mountain systems. Mel served on the steering committee for the City of Nelson's recently completed Community Energy and Emissions Action Plan and was a member of the technical support team for the Columbia Basin Trust’s 'Communities Adapting to Climate Change Initiative'. In 2017 Mel received an Award of Environmental Education Excellence from the Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network.
MATTHEW HURTEAU, PhD
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF QUANTITATIVE ECOLOGY - ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO
Matthew Hurteau is an Associate Professor of Quantitative Ecology at the University of New Mexico. He has a BS in Forestry from Northern Arizona University and a PhD in Ecology from the University of California, Davis. His research focus is on climate change mitigation and adaptation in forest systems. He uses empirical and simulation data to better understand how changing climate and disturbance influence species distributions, productivity, and carbon dynamics.
MANAGER AT SIFCo - WINLAW, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Stephan is the Manager and a founding Director of SIFCo, and was
President from 2006 to 2011. Stephan also works as an integral
consultant and project manager for societies, coops, businesses,
co-housing projects and communities, as they develop vision, inter-
and intrapersonal discernment skills and practices, and seek to
implement these in ways that are effective and resilient to change.
He has worked in community development and ecosystem-based planning since 1993.
Stephan's lifelong passion and pursuit is to move beyond ideas,
discussions and theorizing to actually doing and being the changes we wish to see in the world.
For the past 19 years he has designed and led numerous transformative educational events internationally, specifically for ecologists, community builders, educators and parents.
He is also founder and director of an international organization that
works in the field of human consciousness evolution, specifically
applying an Integral framework to environmental work, education,
parenting and mediation. He is married and father to a wonderful daughter.
FIRE ECOLOGIST - CHILLIWACK, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Robert W. Gray is a fire ecologist and the president of R.W. Gray Consulting Ltd. Robert has over 30 years experience in the research and application of many facets of fire science, including fire regime reconstruction, fire behavior and effects analysis, national and international fire management policy, and hazardous fuel management. Most recently Robert has focused on gaining a better understanding of fire behavior in mountain pine beetle impacted stands, the impact of past fires on future fire spread and severity, and fuel treatment effectiveness. R.W. Gray Consulting Ltd. clients include: US Forest Service, US Bureau of Land Management, The World Bank, State of Washington, Parks Canada, ?aq’am First Nation, B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, B.C. Ministry of Environment, University of Washington, University of Idaho and University of British Columbia, several rural BC communities (Cranbrook, Kimberley), and many others.
JOHN CATHRO, RPF
OWNER AT CATRHO CONSULTING - KASLO, BRITISH COLUMBIA
John Cathro is Registered Professional Forester and independent consultant. His clients include First Nations, communities, companies, organizations and governments across BC and around the world. He works on issues that include community wildfire protection, third-party certification, strategic land use planning and conservation area management. John has 20 years experience working within complex multi-party situations involving jurisdiction, economic development, and cultural and ecological conservation. His approach is grounded in technical expertise and based on collaboration and capacity building. John has graduate degrees in forestry and land use from Oxford University and conflict management from Royal Roads University. John and his family live in Kaslo, BC
INTEGRATED INVESTMENT SPECIALIST MINISTRY OF FORESTS, LANDS, NATURAL RESOURCE OPERATIONS AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT - NELSON, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Julie Castonguay is a professional forester with 28 years’ experience in natural resources management in British Columbia. She has worked for the private and public sectors spanning a variety of disciplines including: forest health, forest stewardship, integrated natural resources management planning, wildfire landscape planning, forest tenures, silviculture and more recently as Integrated Investment Specialist for the Kootenay Boundary Region.
Julie is a passionate advocate for promoting ecosystem resilience, encouraging creative solutions to natural resources management issues and supporting stewardship initiatives and stakeholders’ and resource managers engagement.
Her formal education includes a Bachelor in Science in Forestry from Laval University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from NSCAD University. She is based in Nelson.
ERIK LESLIE, RPF
MANAGER AT HARROP PROCTER COMMUNITY FOREST - NELSON, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Erik Leslie, RPF, is a forestry consultant and the Forest Manager for the Harrop-Procter Community Co-operative. He is also the President of the BC Community Forest Association, which represents over 50 community forest organizations across British Columbia. Erik has 20 years of experience working for the forest industry, First Nations, community organizations, and regional and provincial governments on projects from Haida Gwaii to Labrador. He has extensive experience in forestry planning and operations, community consultation, small business management, and forest certification. In 2018 Erik was the first recipient of the Association of BC Forest Professionals’ Forest Innovation Award for his work developing and implementing collaborative ecosystem-based practices in the wildland-urban interface. Erik has developed and is currently implementing an applied climate change adaptation pilot project in the Harrop-Procter community forest. The project is designed to demonstrate how managers can integrate climate science and risk assessment into practical forestry decision making in the Columbia Basin.
TOM BRADLEY, RFT
FORESTRY SUPERVISOR AT SIFCo - WINLAW, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Tom Bradley is the Forestry Supervisor at Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative and is a forest tech who has lived in the Slocan Valley since 1976. His career trajectory has taken several hundred meters across local hillsides in 38 years, with diversions to many parts of Canada. Tom still hangs boundary & road ribbons, but he also manages a small GIS consulting firm. Tom has been riding the tech wave from planimeter and omnichrome to ArcMap, Avenza, and drones all his working life. Tom is also a Woodlot Licensee and the Federation of BC Woodlot Associations e-Business contractor.
GREG UTZIG, M.Sc, P.Ag
CONSERVATION ECOLOGIST & LAND USE CONSULTANT - NELSON, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Greg Utzig (M.Sc., P.Ag.) is a conservation ecologist and land use planning consultant based in Nelson, British Columbia. He has over 40 years experience in environmental impact assessment, watershed analysis, terrain and vegetation mapping, habitat inventory and modeling, and a wide range of activities related to forest management and biodiversity protection. In recent years, Greg's focus has shifted to climate change and conservation planning. Since then he has authored various reports and given numerous presentations in regard to climate change impacts and forest ecosystem resilience in southeastern BC. Whenever he can avoid his computer, he spends his time on Kootenay Lake or in the surrounding mountains. Some of his work on climate change and conservation can be found at www.westkootenayresilience.org
WILDFIRE MITIGATION COORDINATOR AND BALFOUR FIRE CHIEF - NELSON BRITISH COLUMBIA
Nora Hannon is responsible for the Wildfire Mitigation Program at the Regional District Central Kootenay and serves as Fire Chief with the Balfour Harrop Fire Department. Nora has worked in Command, Structure Protection Specialist and Section Chief roles during numerous wildfire and emergency events in the region.
Under Nora’s direction the Regional District Central Kootenay has built a broad Wildfire Mitigation Program, addressing concerns on private and crown land, and leveraging grant funding from UMBC SWPI, FESBC and CBT to support program initiatives.
For 2018 this includes the seasonal hire of nine Wildfire Mitigation Specialists/Local FireSmart Representatives to deliver the FireSmart HomePartners Program and FireSmart Community Recognition Program to area residents and assist with developing Wildfire Preplans as well as Community Wildfire Protection Plan Updates, Prescription and Fuel Treatment work.
FOREST CARBON AND CLIMATE CHANGE RESEARCHER- VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Caren is a Forest Carbon and Climate Change Researcher with the Government of BC. Her background includes carbon modelling, natural disturbances, ecological modelling and geomatics. She has a M.Sc. and a B.Sc. in Ecology from the University of Calgary and is a Professional Agrologist. She is currently pursuing a PhD at Bangor University, Wales. After finishing her masters, Caren started her career in a landscape ecology lab at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Since then, she worked for the Canadian Forest Service on various projects over eight years. Caren joined BC in 2008 and has two main research programs: 1. Accounting and forecasting the impact of different management choices and climate change on the ecological goods and services of forests. 2. Understanding the carbon footprint and sustainability of forest products. Using this knowledge, she leads and collaborates on developing evidence-based policy for BC.
WOODLANDS MANAGER - NELSON, BRITISH COLUMBIA
As the current Woodlands Manager for Kalesnikoff Lumber Co., Tyler Hodgkinson oversees the forest management of some of the most constrained and publicly scrutinized timberlands in BC.
Tyler joined the Kalesnikoff team in 2013 after a decade as a silviculture forester where he was responsible for planting over 37 million tree seedlings. Aside from being a Woodlands Manager and silviculturalist at heart, Tyler is also the owner of two woodlots and an advocate for small-scale forestry. He has been an active member of the Boundary Woodlot Association since 2005 and is a director of the Federation of BC Woodlot Association.
Tyler was born and raised in British Columbia. He obtained a Diploma in Forestry from Selkirk College and a Bachelor of Science in Forest Resource Management from the University of British Columbia. Upon completion of his degree he moved to the BC Southern Interior where he has been practicing forestry as a Registered Professional Forester since 2002.
INTERFACE FIRE PROTECTION SPECIALIST -ROSSLAND, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Don Mortimer (Fireline Consulting - Rossland BC) brings over 35 years of operational fire suppression & management experience to our team. Don is one of Western Canada’s most well-known interface fire protection specialists and has worked with a variety of agencies to develop and launch numerous initiatives. These include development of the FireSmart program, the BC OFC Structure Protection program and a number of specialized training courses for interface fire responders (S-115, S-215 and ICS training).
Don has worked with fire service teams to produce WUI fire tactical response plans for several municipalities (Banff, Jasper, Windemere/Fairmont) with a plan currently under development for the Dist. of Invermere. Don has worked with emergency professionals to develop CWPPs in all three Kootenay regional districts and also works with private interests in developing wildfire protection plans for lodges, resorts and other holdings.
Don has been closely involved in the development of the FireSmart Canada Community Recognition Program and has trained over 800 fire professionals in 8 provinces / territories to work as Local FireSmart Representatives with wildfire-vulnerable neighbourhoods in their respective communities.
Don works with the City of Rossland FireSmart Program and functions as the Local FireSmart Representative for a number of active FireSmart boards in the Rossland neighbourhoods – Rossland had 3 neighbourhoods ‘recognized’ under the program in 2017 and is currently the provincial leader – 2018 plans involve working to get those 3 neighbourhoods renewed and at least another 3 neighbourhoods through the initial recognition process. Mortimer challenges other BC municipalities to get started with the FireSmart Communities program and is offering several growlers of Rossland’s award winning craft beer to the first municipal FireSmart Program to meet or beat the Rossland lead.
TAYE B AYELE
CUMULATIVE EFFECTS COORDINATOR – CRANBROOK, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Taye has been working with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) as a Cumulative Effects Coordinator for Kootenay-Boundary Region since 2014. He’s been leading an Elk Valley Cumulative Effects Management Framework (CEMF) since January 2015, where the retrospective and prospective assessment of old & mature forest, riparian habitat, grizzly bear, bighorn sheep and westslope cutthroat trout have recently been completed. CEMF is a collaborative initiative involving government, Ktunaxa Nations, industry and other stakeholders.
Taye holds a PhD in Forest Ecology and Forest Sciences from Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany, and MSc (Farm Forestry) and BSc (Forest Management) from Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden. He worked in Ethiopia for over 15 years with the public sector and environmental NGOs at various roles including Forest/Agroforestry Scientist and Forest Biodiversity Conservation Manager. Taye moved to Canada with his wife and two daughters in August 2009.
CASSIDY VAN RENSEN
ECOSYSTEMS BIOLOGIST - CRANBROOK, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Cassidy is an Ecosystems Biologist with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development in Cranbrook. She is working on understanding the cumulative effects of historic, current and potential future development and climate change to support natural resource decision making in the Kootenay Boundary Region. The main focus since starting her position in winter 2016 has been on the development of the Elk Valley Cumulative Effects and Management Framework, including assessment, reporting and implementation.
She has a BSc specializing in Ecology and an MSc in Conservation Biology from the University of Alberta, where she focused on modelling forest regeneration on linear disturbances to support habitat recovery for Boreal caribou. She worked for 3 years as a Land and Biodiversity Modeller in a Land Use Planning Division for the Government of Alberta in Edmonton before relocating to BC.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BC WILDFIRE SERVICE WITH THE MINISTRY OF FORESTS,LANDS AND NATURAL RESOURCE OPERATIONS - KAMLOOPS, BRISTISH COLUMBIA
Madeline became the Executive Director, BC Wildfire Service with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNR) in January 2016.
Madeline is a Registered Professional Forester in British Columbia and prior to becoming the Executive Director, BC Wildfire Service, was the Executive Director, Regional Operations South Area, with FLNR. Madeline joined the Forest Service in 1995 as an Inventory Forester in the Port Alberni Forest District and worked on the Coast until moving to Kamloops in 2003 as the Operations Manager for Kamloops Forest District. She moved to the Southern Interior Regional Office in Kamloops as the Regional Staff Manager, Stewardship and Compliance and Enforcement in 2007, and Acting Regional Executive Director from 2009 to 2010.
Before coming to British Columbia, Madeline worked with the Ministry of Natural Resources in Sioux Lookout and Kenora, Ontario and at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. She has a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and a Masters of Science in Forestry from the Lakehead University.
BCTS TIMBER SALES MANAGER– NELSON, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Russell Laroche is a Registered Professional Forester with 23 years working in the Forest Industry in various roles. Born and raised in the Kootenays, Russ received his forestry diploma at Selkirk College in Castlegar then proceeded to obtain his Professional Forester status through the Forestry Pupil program.
The majority of his career has been in different parts of the Kootenays however he did spend 10 years working in Northern BC for a Major Licensee. He has been in several roles covering most aspects of Forestry as a Consultant, a Major licensee and is now with Government as the Timber Sales Manager with BCTS.
REGIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE KOOTENAY BOUNDARY REGION WITH THE MINISTRY OF FORESTS, LANDS, NATURAL RESOURCE OPERATIONS AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT - NELSON, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Garth Wiggill is the Regional Executive Director for the Kootenay Boundary Region with the Ministry of Forests Lands Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) and provides oversight to all forestry and resource management operations within the Region.
Garth studied and worked in the forest industry in South Africa for 10 years before immigrating to Canada in 1993. Since 1994 Garth has worked for the BC Government in the Southern Interior of BC in the forestry and resource sector and he supports a number of key Provincial initiatives including hazard management, fibre utilization, reconciliation with Indigenous Communities, and supporting economic resilience in rural BC.
CHIEF OF NELSON FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICES - NELSON, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Len MacCharles became the Chief of Nelson Fire & Rescue Services in 2014 following 30 years with the Calgary Fire Department where he was a Deputy Chief for over 10 years. In Calgary he managed numerous divisions including Calgary’s Emergency Operations Centre during the 2013 floods resulting in one of Canada’s costliest disasters and the evacuation of almost 80,000 people. He has a undergraduate degree in Law & Society, holds the official designations of Chief Fire Officer and the prestigious Executive Fire Officer from the US National Fire Academy, and is a Certified Emergency Manager with the International Association of Emergency Managers. Chief MacCharles currently sits on the NFPA 1616 Technical Committee on Mass Evacuation, Sheltering and Re-Entry. Chief MacCharles has extensive Incident Command and Emergency Management training and experience that includes Incident Commander for the Town of Slave during the devastating wildfire in 2011 and was EOC Deputy Director for the 2013 floods in Calgary.
FESBC OPERATIONS MANAGER - KAMLOOPS, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Gord has over 30 years’ forestry experience. As a partner with a forest consulting company in Smithers, Gord was involved in all aspects of forest management activities such as planning, silviculture and timber development for industry, government and small licensees. Since 2007, he has worked with the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations in Kamloops in a number of positions, including Timber Pricing/Tenures Forester in the South Area, Stewardship Forester in the Kamloops Forest District, Fuel Management Specialist for the Kamloops Fire Centre (where his primary role was to promote fuel management treatments in the Wildland Urban Interface areas around the communities across the Kamloops Fire Centre), acting Resource Manager for the Thompson Rivers Natural Resource District and is currently one of three Operations Managers with FESBC.
KELLY OSBOURNE, RPF
BC WILDFIRE SERVICE FUEL MANAGEMENT OFFICER - VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Kelly Osbourne is a Registered Professional Forester with 18 years’ experience in many parts of BC. She has worked in forest development, silviculture and fire management for both the public and private sector. Kelly currently works for the BC Wildfire Service as a Fire and Fuel Management Officer. Kelly is responsible for providing provincial oversight and expertise, and informing the relationship between fire, fuel and forest management. This includes assessing forest, fuel management and fire management planning policy, legislation, best practices, and quality assurance and making recommendations for improvement. She lives in Victoria BC for the past 11 years.
CHIEF OF FERNIE FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICES - FERNIE, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Entered the Fire Service as a volunteer in 1988 for the Municipality of Clarington (Ontario), hired as a career fire fighter in 1989.Graduated from the Ontario Fire College in 1994. Continued on with further education in a supervisory program from Durham College of Applied Arts and Technology, completed the Fire fighter and Emergency Services and Rescue Program from Seneca College and prior to leaving Ontario received a certificate in Public Administration and Governance from Ryerson University. After 25 years with the Clarington Fire Department having served in various roles, I relocated to Fernie, BC to become Fire Chief 2013. Most recently completed an Executive Leadership certificate from Dalhousie University.
OWNER AT FORESTWISE ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTING LTD - FERNIE, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Alan Westhaver, is a retired National Park wildland fire manager with extensive involvement in development and promotion of Canada's national FireSmart program. His post-fire investigations into recent fire disasters at Fort McMurray, Slave Lake and Kelowna merge with the work of many fire researchers to provide insights into community wildfire protection solutions.
In 2006, he completed a Master’s degree that explored ways of integrating wildlife habitat needs and the aesthetic values held by WUI residents into standard FireSmart fuel treatments.
Alan continues to feed his long-time passions for restoring the benefits of fire into Canadian ecosystems and protecting communities from wildfires through his Fernie-based company, ForestWise Environmental Consulting Ltd.