Students of Fire

November 23 2022 | 1200-1300 MST

The National Conversation was led by three graduate students from universities across the country who represent the next generation of wildland fire researchers. The combined student presentation explores fuel management, hourly fire behaviour forecasts, and airtanker effectiveness. Each speaker will present their own topic:

  • Nikki Manwaring (Thompson Rivers University) will discuss assessing fuel management practices in the wildland urban interface with CanFIRE.
  • Christopher Rodell (University of British Columbia) will cover hourly forecasts of fire behaviour derived from a numerical weather prediction model.
  • Melanie Wheatley (University of Toronto) will dive into airtanker effectiveness and discuss how increasing effort presents a decreasing success paradox.

This research is applied and seeks to solve practical problems. Come prepared for conversation as we seek insight on how to take their results from research to operations.

Presented by:

Dominique 'Nikki' Manwaring is a graduate student at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC, supervised by Dr. Mike Flannigan. She has a Bachelor’s in Natural Resource Sciences from Thompson Rivers University. She is registered with the Association of BC Forest Professionals and has the goal of completing her Registered Professional Forester designation in the coming years. Nikki has worked for the British Columbia Wildfire Service for seven seasons on Unit Crews and as a Wildfire Assistant in the Cariboo Fire Centre. Nikki’s research interests include fuel management practices, fire behaviour predictions, and suppression success.

Chris Rodell is a Ph.D. Student in Atmospheric Science at the University of British Colombia, supervised by Dr. Roland Stull. Originally from Colorado, he has a BA in Physical Geography and a BA in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from the University of Colorado, Boulder. During that time, he also earned a certificate in weather forecasting from Penn State University. Research interests include coupled atmosphere-wildland fire behaviour modelling, forest fuel moisture forecasts, wildfire smoke forecasting, and field observations of controlled burns. Outside interests include snowboarding, climbing, backpacking, and mountain biking.

Melanie Wheatley is a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto in the Fire Management and Systems Laboratory, supervised by Dr. Mike Wotton. Melanie’s research focuses on examining forest fire suppression effectiveness, including both ground and aerial suppression, in the Canadian boreal forest. Melanie is specifically examining a multi-method approach to examining suppression effectiveness, utilizing a combination of historical fire archive and airtanker mission data from the province of Ontario, paired with field-based experimental burns using remote sensing and infrared imagining technology to examine the effect of the application of water on fire behaviour. Melanie is passionate about fire management in Canada, having worked eight fire seasons in several different operational and research capacities in Ontario.