By Emile Grobbelaar
It was great to see and be reminded of the recognition of South Africa in the Wildland Fire Community. Many international delegates have fond memories of the Wildland Fire Conference hosted by South Africa in 2011. It was good to see and interact with “old” friends and colleagues.
On day 2, I attended sessions that focused on the following:
- Integrated Fire Management (IFM)
- International cooperation
- Technical innovation
- Aerial resource management
Items that stood out for me are as follows:
- International cooperation is critical for effective wildfire management.
- Countries need to work together to share information, resources, and best practices.
- The use of unmanned aerial applications (UAVs) is still most productive for monitoring activities during times when manned aircraft do not operate, i.e. at night.
- Catastrophe bonds and parametric insurance options are interesting new developments that are enabled as a result of development and access to significant data and information.
- The impact of climate change is an existing parameter for factoring insurance cost and premium calculation.
- The global aerial fire fighting market is about $10Bn and expected to grow to about $15Bn over the next 5 years. This significant cost is still very small compared to the value of potential losses.
Specific highlights from each session
- IFM session: The session focused on the importance of integrated fire management, which is a holistic approach to wildfire management that takes into account all aspects of the problem, including prevention, suppression, and recovery.
- International cooperation session: The session discussed the importance of international cooperation in wildfire management. Countries need to work together to share information, resources, and best practices in order to be effective.
- Technical innovation session: The session highlighted some of the latest technological developments in wildfire management, such as the use of UAVs and satellite imagery.
- Insurance session: The session discussed the role of insurance in wildfire management. Insurance can help to protect people and businesses from the financial losses caused by wildfires.
- Aerial resource management session: The session discussed the challenges and opportunities of aerial fire fighting. Aerial fire fighting is a critical tool for suppressing wildfires, but it is also a very expensive and resource-intensive operation.
Overall, I found the second day of the Wildland Fire Conference to be very informative and thought-provoking. I look forward to continuing the conversation about wildfire management in the future.