Lecture tackles question: Is U.S. wildfire policy sustainable?

Credit: NOAA

Is the United States handling wildfires properly? Bill Fleeger, visiting senior scholar in environmental policy and sustainability at Linfield College, will examine that question in his lecture, “Our Annual Crisis: Is U.S. Wildfire Policy Sustainable?”

The lecture will take place on Thursday, Feb. 18, at 4:15 p.m. in 100 Graf Hall. The lecture will be live streamed for those unable to attend.

The summer of 2015 was one of the worst fire seasons on record. Nationally, more than 10 million acres burned, more than 4,500 home were destroyed and 13 wildland firefighters were killed. Suppression costs exceeded $2.6 billion. But last year’s fire season is not unique. According to the National Wildfire Leadership Council, the last two decades have seen a significant escalation of extreme fire behavior, structure and property losses, increased costs, risks to communities and deteriorating conditions on the land.  These trends suggest a need to rethink the response to this annual threat to communities and wildlands in the United States.

Fleeger’s presentation will focus on the historical development and evolution of wildfire policy in the U.S. and the barriers and opportunities for managing the complex and changing wildfire environment.

Fleeger is a visiting senior scholar in environmental policy and sustainability at Linfield College. His research has focused on wildfire policy and federal agency and community collaboration in the development of community wildfire protection plans in the American west. He is a native of southern Oregon and worked for nine years (occasionally as a wildland firefighter) with the U.S. Forest Service.

Other PLACE programs have been live streamed online and are archived and available to watch:

These lectures are part of Linfield’s Program for Liberal Arts and Civic Engagement (PLACE). The theme for PLACE this year is Air, Water, Earth, and Fire: the ancient elements on a changing planet. It examines the elements once considered the building blocks of existence, the way in which they are utilized in the modern world, and their status for the future. The PLACE program aims to enhance student engagement and faculty development in the liberal arts through the exploration of thematic connections among modes of thinking and inquiry.

For more information, call Jennifer Heath, 503-883-2267, jheath@linfield.edu.