TRU to host new $5 million research project to better predict, tackle wildfires | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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TRU to host new $5 million research project to better predict, tackle wildfires

July 30, 2020 - 7:00 PM

A new research project funded by the province and taking place at Thompson Rivers University aims to create a new way to predict and respond to wildfires in the province.

"Kamloops is the ideal location for this research position. Not only do we have a natural vulnerability to forest fires, and in particular urban interference fires, we also have had a great deal of experience dealing with evacuations and recovery. This is good news for Kamloops and for British Columbia,” says Ken Christian, mayor of Kamloops in the release.

The project will be driven by technology and will collaborate with emergency responders, the community and the wildfire industry. $5 million of provincial funding will help pay for the project and the new position of the B.C. Research Chair in Predictive Services, Emergency Management and Fire Science. The chair will work to find a way to improve fire forecasting, prevention and responses to wildfires.

"Interior communities have worked together to advocate for additional research and capacity to help better understand wildfires, in order to protect their residents, infrastructure, and economies. We're answering the call to action with this research position," says Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development in a media release.

The research will focus on wildfire data modelling in the interior, the ‘heart’ of wildfire country. It’ll also look into the relationship between climate change and how that affects the risk of wildfires.

"Applied research is a critical tool to help build our capacity to understand and address the challenges of ecological threats in B.C.," says Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training in the release. "This new research chair adds to the world-class research done at B.C.'s post-secondary institutions and will create new collaborations, including with local First Nations to integrate traditional ecological knowledge. Their intimate and longstanding relationship to the land has given them unique, local knowledge about managing wildfires."

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