The 6th International Wildland Fire Conference (IWFC) was recently held in Pyeongchang, Korea (October 11-16th). SIG’s Director for Asia Pacific, Brett Shields, was present and undertook several official roles across the 5 day meeting, being the Moderator for the Opening Plenary Session where the two honoured speakers were Professor Stephen Pyne and Dr Winston Trollope. Brett commented that “it was a great honour to share the stage with both Stephen and Winston” both of whom are luminaries in the fire management community in their respective fields of expertise. Brett had the good fortune to be one of the judging panel for the newly added “Youth Program”. The Youth Program enabled more than 15 Masters and PhD students to come from across the globe to Korea and present the basis of their research work and studies. Some great new research minds are in the making with innovative approaches to old problems. As well Brett presented two papers on Tropical Fire Behavior and an update on the Fire Management Approaches being undertaken in Indonesia.
Brett commented on the 6th IWFC, stating that “the conference is held only once every 4 years and brings together the international fire agencies, equipment and technology vendors, researchers, consulting practitioners and development agencies into one forum, and its that mix of people and agencies that make a conference of this nature valuable. The Korea Forest Service hosted the conference and did a great job and found an excellent venue that will soon be the host to the 2018 Winter Olympics. Brett noted also that the Korea Forest Service has established itself as an international support and development agency with the creation of the ASEAN-ROK Forest Cooperation (AFoCO), https://www.afocosec.org/afoco/pc/en/ . AFoCO has at its heart the promotion and development of forest management practices within the ASEAN countries and is working in the important areas of community development, sustainable forest management and education.