2019 Symposium: WILDFIRE in Washington State

Thursday, September 12, 2019
9 AM – 3 PM

Registration is now closed.


Ron Mittelhammer, Regents Professor of Economics, Washington State University and 2019 Symposium Chair


The Washington State Wildland Fire Protection 10-Year Strategic Plan – Vision and Implementation

Hilary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands, WA Department of Natural Resources

The intensity, size, and number of wildland fires is on the rise in Washington. In 2018, we had the most wildfires ever in our state – more than 1,800. At times, Washington had the worst air quality in the world due to wildfire smoke. And with 40 percent of fires on the westside, it was clear wildfire is not an eastside or westside issue, it is a Washington state issue. The challenges that Washington faces now, and in the future, related to wildfires are growing and becoming ever more complex. They include the challenge of preventing wildfires, creating resilient landscapes and fire-adapted communities, improving response, and assisting with post-fire recovery.

A strategy has been built on decades of partnerships and crafted by agency and community leaders, tribes, wildland fire managers, and the public. It identifies effective solutions for a prepared, safe, and resilient Washington. It is a bold vision for how all of Washington can benefit from safely managing wildfire. Implementation of the Washington State Wildland Fire Protection 10-Year Strategy will be challenging, and will require action from the legislature, agencies, tribes, the private sector and partners to achieve strategic goals.


Wildfire: the Space-Time Continuum

This theme provides perspectives within the context of land stewardship and firefighting that relate to the evolution of wildfire events and their effects, both historically/chronologically, and spatially/geographically focusing on the Pacific Northwest.

Tony Harwood, Confederated Salish and Koontenai Tribes (retired)

John Giller, Director of Fire, Fuels and Aviation Management, U.S. Forest Service


Wildfire: Health

This theme addresses a broad spectrum of bio-psycho-social impacts of wildfire on health and health compromised populations.

Sverre Vedal, Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington

Pat Butterfield, Professor and Associate Dean of Research, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Washington State University


Wildfire: Fuel and Ecosystems

This theme focuses on wildfire in the natural environment, and how changes in the natural environment are changing wildfire dynamics and how we deal with them.

William (Ruddy) Mell, Combustion Engineer, U.S. Forest Service

Mark Wigmosta, Chief Scientist, Computational Watershed Hydrology Team, Pacific NW National Lab


Wildfire: Economics

This session provides economic perspectives on the impacts of fire, the fundamental economic forces that shape wildfire management institutions, the costs of wildfire to communities, and the socio-economic forces that shape recovery from fire.

Jude Bayham, Assistant Professor of Economics, Colorado State University

Patty Champ, Economist, U.S. Forest Service


Wildfire: Government Regulation and Policy 

This session focuses on wildfire management organization and law.

Jonathan Yoder, Professor of Economics, Washington State University

David Calkin, Supervisory Research Forester, U.S. Forest Service