Views and Visions: Posts from our People

Chief Executive Officer
Oct
15

rt_south_korea_choppers.jpg

A demonstration of South Korean aerial firefighting techniques.
A demonstration of South Korean aerial firefighting techniques.

Insights from South Korea

I am currently attending the 6th International Wildland Fire Conference in Pyeongchang in South Korea, a conference the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC is proud to be a partner of. Set up to enable the sharing of information, practice and research from all nations around the world, the conference is held in a different location every four years. It represents a great chance to continue to build the international linkages of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, with the CRC represented in the exhibit as part of the International Association of Wildland Fire’s stand. 

The South Koreans have organised a great forum for discussions. There are many nations represented here this week, including around 15 people from Australia. The opening address was by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon via video, along with senior members of the South Korean Government.

The keynote presenters have set the challenges for the future. Steven Pyne from the US spoke about how we can learn from the history of fire, while the US Forest Service’s Sarah McCaffrey highlighted the importance of understanding communities and of not being blinded by your assumptions. 

Also in focus has been South Korea's fire management system, which included a demonstration of firefighting techniques and aerial firefighting expertise. This was followed by a field trip to an ancient Buddhist temple in Yang Yang which was destroyed by a bushfire in 2005.

The call across the conference has been that there are strong trends across the globe toward an increasing number of fires, of greater intensity and burning more land. There are many causes for this, including poor fire management over a number of years, a changing climate and greater population density.

A critical part of this conference is the regional discussions, which in our case focused on the exchanges of fire knowledge and science between the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. 

Tom Harbour, Director of Fire and Aviation in the US Forest Service, has reiterated the need for better exchange of knowledge, to better understand the role of fire in our societies, and the need to remove the "fear of fire" as we cannot engage in a meaningful conversation when people are scared.

As I said at the top, Australia is well represented here this week. Delegates have heard from the former CEO of the Bushfire CRC Gary Morgan, PhD student Kangmin Moon and Dr Luba Volkova from the University of Melbourne, Steve Yorke from NSW RFS, CFA’s Alen Slijepcevic, and Tracy Grimes and Fiona Dunston from CFS.

I am sure there will be plenty more important insights over the remaining two days.

More by Richard Thornton

Blog posts on Views & Visions
2017
Author Post Key Topics
Dr Richard Thornton Uptake from partners evident at conference communication, emergency management, multi-hazard
Dr Richard Thornton Halfway to delivering to the country emergency management, mitigation, multi-hazard
Dr Richard Thornton International insight into fire protection communities, engineering, fire impacts
Dr Richard Thornton Welcome to new staff and great events
Dr Richard Thornton 25 years of rural fire research in New Zealand fire, prescribed burning
Dr Richard Thornton Community at the top of the list all over the world emergency management, land management, prescribed burning
2016
Author Post Key Topics
Dr Richard Thornton A new research agenda coastal, governance, recovery
Dr Richard Thornton Still busy at the CRC emergency management, fire severity, prescribed burning
Dr Richard Thornton Conference highlights key issues for the sector cyclone, mitigation, multi-hazard
Dr Richard Thornton Three years on and the view turns to research use emergency management, land management
Dr Richard Thornton The RAF, the future and outreach emergency management, land management
Dr Richard Thornton An interesting week in Malaysia emergency management, flood, tropical
Dr Richard Thornton Inconvenient truth about disaster mitigation fuel reduction, mitigation, policy
Dr Richard Thornton Research must advance to keep us safe from natural hazards communication, communities, emergency management
2015
Author Post Key Topics
Dr Richard Thornton End of 2015 - the start of delivery
Dr Richard Thornton Insights from South Korea fire
Dr Richard Thornton Annual conference and new MoU
Dr Richard Thornton Happy second birthday to the CRC
Dr Richard Thornton CRC Program Review and New National Research Priorities
Dr Richard Thornton Important work on the national stage
Dr Richard Thornton It may feel like a quiet season, but don't get complacent communities, policy, risk management
Dr Richard Thornton Natural hazards—a wicked problem emergency management, multi-hazard, risk management
2014
Author Post Key Topics
Dr Richard Thornton Portugal conference and end of 2014
Dr Richard Thornton We need your help and support - CRC Program Review
Dr Richard Thornton Wow – what a week!
Dr Richard Thornton Addition of natural hazards to bushfire - a seemingly simple task?
Dr Richard Thornton Strategic and policy landscape
Dr Richard Thornton One year on
Dr Richard Thornton Back at work
Dr Richard Thornton It was just a year ago…
Dr Richard Thornton Thank you - now let's get started
2013
Author Post Key Topics
Dr Richard Thornton A year of establishment

Browse posts by all authors

All the resources from our 2016 conference

Research program in detail

Where, why and how are Australians dying in floods?

2015-2016 year in review

Bushfire planning with kids ebook

Explore by keyword