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Meetings to Discuss the Thomas Fire Retrospective Report and Climate Change Effects on Wildfires

By Aaron Briner
Oct 04, 2018 at 06:10 PM

The Montecito Fire Department will be holding two upcoming meetings.  The first will be a review of the 2017 Thomas Fire and the Department’s Wildland Fire Program, and the second will be a discussion about climate change and its effects on wildfires.   

Thomas Fire Retrospective Report

The Department will present a report prepared by Geo Elements: “A Retrospective Study of Montecito Fire Protection District’s Wildland Fire Program during the 2017 Thomas Fire”.  The report and discussion will review the actions of the District in the years leading up to the fire as well as actions that took place under the guidance of the Incident Management Team prior to and during December 16th to understand how these actions resulted in significantly less property loss than what was anticipated based on modeling in the 2016 Community Wildfire Protection Plan and as compared to the recent Tea and Jesusita Fires.  We will also discuss opportunities to build upon the success of the current programs in the future. 

The Retrospective Report meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018 at the Montecito Fire Protection District Headquarters, 595 San Ysidro Road at 5:30 p.m.  

Climate Change and Wildfires  

Contrary to some recent opinions, the Santa Barbara front is still very much at risk of catastrophic wildfire, despite the extent of the record 2017 Thomas Fire and other recent extreme wildfires in the region. Recent increases in fire size and severity have been attributed to climate change, which is projected to continue, producing more extreme fire activity in the decades to come. Given these projections, what can homeowners and communities do to protect lives and property?  

This discussion will be presented by Dr. Crystal Kolden.  Dr. Kolden will cover the science of how climate change alters wildfire seasons and impacts the different types of wildfires in the region.  She will also discuss the types of mitigation strategies that have been successful in recent wildfires, both for individual homeowners and for communities.  

The Climate Change & Wildfire discussion will be held on Thursday, October 18th, 2018 at the Montecito Fire Protection District Headquarters, 595 San Ysidro Road at 5:30 p.m.  

Dr. Crystal Kolden is an Associate Professor of Fire Science, Director of the Pyrogeography Lab at the University of Idaho, and a former wildland firefighter for the US Forest Service in California. She conducts research on wildfire disasters and how to mitigate them, and has published over 50 scientific articles on wildfires.  

All stakeholders including property owners, residents, local agencies, organizations, associations, business owners, community leaders and interested public members are encouraged to attend these meetings.


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