Climate and wildfires in western North America: a case for proactive management

Dr. Susan Prichard

Research Scientist

Start Time & Date

Start Time & Date

Much attention has been given to the rise of western wildfires under climate change. In this talk, we will explore what fuels wildfires in western North America  and proactive management strategies to mitigate their impacts to forests and communities. In addition to fire weather, topography and the combustible biomass of dead and living vegetation have large impacts on how wildfires start and contagiously spread. We will conclude with a discussion on the range of science-based adaptive management strategies to make forests more resilient to climate change and wildfires and how these can be scaled up to make a difference.

Dr. Prichard standing in a forest in a black and white photo

Susan Prichard is a fire ecologist and has worked as a research scientist for the past 20 years at the University of Washington School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. Her main interests are in the effects of fire and other disturbances on forest dynamics, climate change on forest ecosystems, and fuel treatment options to mitigate fire severity and smoke impacts in fire-prone forests. She lives full-time in the Methow Valley near Winthrop, Washington. Having lived through record-setting wildfire seasons, she is focused on applied research questions that help to inform adaptive management under climate change.