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Campus Life - Kamloops  

Partnering in wildfire

President Brett Fairbairn addresses a major announcement made at TRU by BC Premier David Eby and Minister of Forests Bruce Ralston on Thurs., April 4.

Dear colleagues,

Weytk weytkp.

Today, I had the honour of standing alongside BC Premier David Eby and Minister of Forests Bruce Ralston, as they announced a broad, collaborative effort with TRU to address the unprecedented impact of wildfire on our communities.

Specifically, TRU and the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) are establishing a unique partnership to develop new research, education, training, and innovation opportunities in addressing wildfire and its impacts to communities.

This includes renewing BCWS training programs and developing and delivering future education programs ranging from certificates and diplomas to undergraduate and graduate degrees in wildfire and emergency management disciplines. Development of such academic programs would follow our usual program development and approval processes, in addition to working with BCWS.

TRU will also collaborate with BCWS on research initiatives and innovation to ensure BC is well equipped to address the everchanging landscape of wildfire. Research and innovation will also continuously inform the learning curriculum.

TRU wildfire expert Mike Flannigan addresses the gathering at the wildfire training and education announcement

We are calling this comprehensive approach which integrates research, education, training and innovation, TRU Wildfire. This initiative builds on TRU’s current expertise and commitment to leading world-class research, training, and innovation to improve how British Columbians adapt to living with wildfires.

Last year, we established the Institute for Wildfire Science, Adaptation and Resiliency, with world-renowned wildfire expert Dr. Mike Flannigan as its scientific director. Dr. Flannigan is also the BC Innovation Research Chair in Predictive Services, Emergency Management and Fire Science at TRU, as well as the Science Director of Canada Wildfire. He is joined at the institute with other leading researchers, undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty committed to finding solutions and creating safer, more resilient communities.

TRU Wildfire will focus not only on wildfire science but also on the social, health, and community impacts of wildfire, as well as Indigenous cultural fire.

The province also plans to build a state-of-the art training and education centre to train wildland firefighters, communities and students. Combined with our research expertise, our new research institute and opportunities presented by the partnership with BCWS, we are well on our way to form a world-class wildfire learning, research and innovation ecosystem. It is something we should all be proud of.

Watch video highlights of the announcement.

Taking place at our Kamloops campus, today’s announcement was particularly heartening when I consider TRU’s history and place in the region. We are a research university, a member of the Research Universities’ Council of BC and we also deliver non-degree-credit training. This makes us unique, and uniquely positions us to partner with BCWS, to bridge leading-edge wildfire research into frontline learning for those who manage wildfire and landscapes.

TRU also has a history of developing strong partnerships, including the Interior Universities Research Consortium (IURC) with the University of Northern BC and UBC-Okanagan. While the IURC is our foundational interuniversity partnership, there will be many more collaborations to come as TRU connects wildfire science and other wildfire research areas and training to the best researchers wherever they may be located.

We are also a university rooted in a rural region, closely engaged with the Secwépemc, as well as other First Nations, Métis and nearby small communities who face fire risk on the land. We look forward to working with knowledge keepers and others on how we bring greater respect and work with the land, and people in keeping with our university values. TRU Wildfire signals an expression of our commitment to the land and our location in the Interior and in Secwepemcúl’ecw.

While we are still in the early planning stages for the operationalization of TRU Wildfire with more details to come, I’d like us all to take a moment to recognize and congratulate colleagues who have put significant work into getting us to where we are today. This includes many valuable contributions from both academic and administrative colleagues.

For more on today’s provincial announcement, please see the BC Government news release.

For more on TRU Wildfire, visit www.tru.ca/TRUwildfire. If you are interested in learning more, please send a message to [email protected].

Kukwstsétsemc,

Brett Fairbairn

 



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