Wildfire Futures: Potential Paths for Change

Wildfire Futures: Potential Paths for Change


The wildland fire challenge is vexing in part due to its complexity.  Involving a socio-ecological mix of people, weather, climate, landscapes and vegetation, among other factors, it will not be solved overnight.  Policy has been clear for some time on the directions we should take. They key question is how to achieve more effective implementation of existing policy.  Windows of opportunity are currently opening that may begin to set the stage for more widespread, transformation change, if we are prepared to leverage them. This presentation is a synthesis of 20 years of work on governance, policy, and the potential for long-term enduring change as we seek to find a more sustainable paradigm that allows greater coexistence with wildland fire.

Toddi Steelman

Stanback Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment

Duke University

President of the International Association of Wildland Fire


Dr. Toddi Steelman is the Stanback Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Prior to that, she served for five years as Executive Director and Professor at the School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada. Working at the intersection of science, policy and decision making, her expertise in environmental and natural resource policy is well-recognized nationally and internationally. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and Canadian Tri Agencies as well as a variety of federal and state agencies. The author of four books, Steelman has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals, as well as opinion and editorial pieces in Nature, the Globe and MailThe Hill and the Los Angeles Times. She is best known as a wildfire expert and has brought her expertise to bear in a variety of venues including the Royal Society (UK), National Academy of Sciences (US) and as an invited keynote speaker in Canada, Germany, Australia and the United States. Her research agenda has focused on understanding community responses to wildfire, and how communities and agencies interact for more effective wildfire management.  

Seminar Recording