By Emile Grobbelaar CEO Kishugu Aviation and Chief Financial Officer Working On Fire – Kishugu JV
Porto, Portugal 16 May 2023
The 2023 International Wildland Fire Conference kicked off on Tuesday, 16 May 2023, in Porto, Portugal. The conference is being attended by over 1,000 representatives from government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private companies from around the world.
The conference is designed to provide participants with an opportunity to share information and best practices on wildland fire management.
The opening ceremony was attended by Juan Cabandie, the Minister of the Environment of Argentina, and his counterpart, Doarte Cordeiro from Portugal. In his opening remarks, Cabandie stressed the importance of international cooperation in wildland fire management. He also called for greater investment in research and development to improve our ability to predict and prevent wildland fires.
In his video message to the opening ceremony, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stressed the importance of gathering experts from around the world to discuss fire governance principles. He said that wildland fires are a growing threat to communities and ecosystems around the world, and that we need to work together to find ways to prevent and manage these fires.
Guterres also called for increased investment in fire prevention and management, and for the development of new technologies to help us better understand and respond to wildland fires. He said that we must act now to protect our communities and our planet from the devastating effects of wildland fires.
The first day of the conference featured a variety of presentations and panel discussions on a range of topics related to wildland fire management. One of the key themes that emerged from the discussions was the need to focus on human interaction and the impacts on people and their responses to risks, rather than the technical focus on fires.
With advances in technology, the availability of data, and our ability to process and understand this, there has been a move from danger assessment to proper risk management to wildland fires. This shift in focus is essential to developing more effective strategies for preventing and mitigating the impacts of wildland fires.
We were very impressed with the efforts and resources around the world that are dedicated to wildland fire management. There is however a clear message that the focus should shift from suppression activities to preventative and readiness activities.
We are confident that the 2023 International Wildland Fire Conference will be a valuable forum for sharing information and best practices on wildland fire management. We look forward to working with our colleagues from around the world to advance the state of the art in wildland fire management and to protect our communities from the devastating impacts of these fires.
Key Takeaways from Day 1
- The need for international cooperation in wildland fire management
- The importance of focusing on human interaction and the impacts on people and their responses to risks, rather than the technical focus on fires
- The shift from danger assessment to proper risk management to wildland fires
- The need to shift the focus from suppression activities to preventative and readiness activities
- Continue to share information and best practices on wildland fire management
- Work to advance the state of the art in wildland fire management
- Protect our communities from the devastating impacts of wildland fires