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NATURAL DISASTERS ROUND TABLE

FORUM ON URBAN AND WILDLAND FIRE

INTRODUCTION

The Natural Disasters Roundtable (NDR), formed by the National Academies in 2000, held its first public forum on January 26, 2001 at the National Academy of Sciences Building in Washington, D.C. The topic of this forum was Urban/Wildland Fire— a session intended to exchange information and stimulate discussion about the problems and solutions for the increasing hazards resulting from widespread urban and exurban encroachment into forested lands subject to wildfire. This topic was selected by the Roundtable steering committee in response to the outbreak of tens of thousands of fires during the 2000 season that scorched 7.2 million acres and destroyed more than 850 structures across the West and Southeast United States. The most publicized, though not the largest of these, was the Cerro Grande Fire in Los Alamos New Mexico from May 4 to June 6, 2000 (NIFC 2000).

To address science and policy issues associated with urban/wildland fire, the NDR steering committee selected an interdisciplinary group of speakers and panelists from the United States and Canada (See Appendix A for the agenda and speakers list). Although discussion focussed largely on North America, certain issues raised may apply to other regions of the world affected by similar hazards. As a one-day meeting, the forum sought to identify a number of key issues for science and policy which may be addressed in more comprehensive studies in the future. Approximately 125 attendees including the steering committee members and speakers participated in this forum (See Appendix B for a list of attendees).

The National Research Council defines a “roundtable” as a type of convening activity of the National Academies that provides a means for representatives of government, industry, and academia to gather periodically for the identification and discussion of issues of mutual concern. In contrast to National Research Council study committees and other committees of the National Academies, roundtables are intended solely to enable dialogue and discussion among key leaders and representatives on a particular issue. They provide a valuable forum for exchanging information and for the presentation of individual views. However, because roundtables are not subject to institutional requirements concerning conflicts of interest, composition, and balance that apply to NRC committees, roundtables are prohibited by the National Academies from providing any advice or recommendation. This paper presents the rapporteur's summary of the forum discussions and does not necessarily reflect the views of the roundtable members or other participants.



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TO BURN OR NOT TO BURN: SUMMARY OF THE FORUM ON URBAN/WILDLAND FIRE NATURAL DISASTERS ROUND TABLE FORUM ON URBAN AND WILDLAND FIRE INTRODUCTION The Natural Disasters Roundtable (NDR), formed by the National Academies in 2000, held its first public forum on January 26, 2001 at the National Academy of Sciences Building in Washington, D.C. The topic of this forum was Urban/Wildland Fire— a session intended to exchange information and stimulate discussion about the problems and solutions for the increasing hazards resulting from widespread urban and exurban encroachment into forested lands subject to wildfire. This topic was selected by the Roundtable steering committee in response to the outbreak of tens of thousands of fires during the 2000 season that scorched 7.2 million acres and destroyed more than 850 structures across the West and Southeast United States. The most publicized, though not the largest of these, was the Cerro Grande Fire in Los Alamos New Mexico from May 4 to June 6, 2000 (NIFC 2000). To address science and policy issues associated with urban/wildland fire, the NDR steering committee selected an interdisciplinary group of speakers and panelists from the United States and Canada (See Appendix A for the agenda and speakers list). Although discussion focussed largely on North America, certain issues raised may apply to other regions of the world affected by similar hazards. As a one-day meeting, the forum sought to identify a number of key issues for science and policy which may be addressed in more comprehensive studies in the future. Approximately 125 attendees including the steering committee members and speakers participated in this forum (See Appendix B for a list of attendees). The National Research Council defines a “roundtable” as a type of convening activity of the National Academies that provides a means for representatives of government, industry, and academia to gather periodically for the identification and discussion of issues of mutual concern. In contrast to National Research Council study committees and other committees of the National Academies, roundtables are intended solely to enable dialogue and discussion among key leaders and representatives on a particular issue. They provide a valuable forum for exchanging information and for the presentation of individual views. However, because roundtables are not subject to institutional requirements concerning conflicts of interest, composition, and balance that apply to NRC committees, roundtables are prohibited by the National Academies from providing any advice or recommendation. This paper presents the rapporteur's summary of the forum discussions and does not necessarily reflect the views of the roundtable members or other participants.