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Do We Have The Science, Tools and Policies Needed to Predict Wildfire and Its Impacts in California?
April 21, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Our experience over the last five years documents the extreme and multifaceted risk posed by wildfires to California’s public safety, environmental health, and economic well-being. The underlying drivers of the current crisis are many but the impacts of a warming climate are not only intensifying the likely risks but also injecting additional uncertainty about the future extent and timing of wildfires. In particular, it is the interaction of linked causal agents that have the potential to produce environmental surprises. This talk will review our understanding of the current state of affairs and then outline the science gaps that must be filled to limit the extent of unanticipated outcomes.
Dr. John J. Battles, Professor of Forest Ecology at UC Berkeley, is a field scientist engaged in long-term research of temperate forest ecosystems. His goal is to understand how and why forests change. Towards this end, his research seeks to understand the dynamic response of forest communities to disturbances and perturbations such as air pollution, invasive species, forest management, extreme drought, and fire. His recent work has focused on understanding the interactions among disturbances in order to assess their potential to reshape forests.
Dr. Alex Hall is a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Director of the Center for Climate Science at UCLA. His research is aimed at predicting and understanding climate change impacts at scales relevant to decision-makers, especially in the State of California. Alex and his team are currently studying the future of wildfire in California and are working with water management agencies in the Los Angeles region to ensure sustainability of water resources under climate change.
Mr. Wright serves as Interim Director of the CA Forest Management Task Force. He was previously the Executive Director of the California Tahoe Conservancy, a state agency in the Lake Tahoe Basin, where he led the development of the Lake Tahoe Basin Forest Action Plan and launched both the Tahoe-Central Sierra Initiative and the Lake Tahoe West Forest Restoration Partnership. Wright was previously the Director of the CALFED Bay-Delta Program, where he led a consortium of agencies and stakeholders in developing and managing one of the nation’s largest collaborative water management programs. He has also served as Deputy Secretary of the California Resources Agency, Senior Policy Advisor to the Regional Administrator of EPA and the Deputy Secretary of Interior, and held positions in EPA’s Air and Water Management Programs in San Francisco.