Thompson Rivers University

TRU Wildfire highlighted at gathering of Canadian forests ministers

June 7, 2024

BC Forests Minister Bruce Ralston speaks at the April announcement of a broad, collaborative effort with TRU to address the unprecedented impact of wildfires.

Forests ministers from across Canada met in Castlegar, BC, this week to talk about wildfires and to strategize on ways of collaborating to prevent and minimize the effects of wildfires.

BC Forests Minister Bruce Ralston, who was outgoing chair of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM), pointed to the recent announcement of Thompson Rivers University (TRU) as a central hub in uniting stakeholders who play a role in developing wildfire knowledge, education and training.

Those stakeholders — and partners — include the BC Wildfire Service as well as industry, academics, governments and Indigenous communities. TRU was the only university invited to attend the ministers’ gathering; Vice-President Research Shannon Wagner and Vice-President University Relations Brian Daly attended on TRU’s behalf.

The initiative at TRU is known as TRU Wildfire, and it brings together and links four key areas — research, education, training and innovation — with the goal of putting communities in a better position to prevent, prepare for and respond to wildfire.

“We took a major step to strengthen our capacity to train wildland firefighters and support their long term development and careers. In April, we announced a groundbreaking wildfire training and education centre in British Columbia,” he said.

“We’ll be the first in North America to ladder wildfire training into degree programs and research, all with a specific focus on wildfire. This centre, located in Kamloops, British Columbia, in association with Thompson Rivers University, will take action to grow our local contingent of wildfire firefighters, provide them with cutting edge science and technology, and support their long-term career development here in British Columbia.

“From hands-on field training to development of academic and degree programs, the new centre will be an education destination we hope, for people from British Columbia and nationally and from around the world.”

Wildfire was the focal point of much of the meeting, which resulted in the CCFM members endorsing the Canadian Wildland Fire Prevention and Mitigation Strategy, a plan that calls for enhancing whole-of-society collaboration and co-ordination, increasing knowledge and understanding, expanding investments in prevention and mitigation and strengthening First Nations, Métis and Inuit partnerships.

“We know that wildfire does not respect boundaries. And the only way forward is working together with a whole-of-society approach,” Ralston said.

“We are working to keep our communities and our families safe.”

Related Posts