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Fire Ecology, 2011
Volume 7, Issue 1

Your Fire Management Career - Make It Count!
Author: Dale D. Wade
Pages: 107-122
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0701107

This paper is an expansion of the thoughts I presented in the closing plenary at the 4th International Fire Ecology and Management Conference in Savannah, Georgia, USA. After ruminating over several days of oral presentations and posters and chatting with attendees, I concluded: 1) scientists are still wrestling with the same fundamental problems they have been for decades, 2) managers are increasingly skeptical of the proliferation of models because they don't provide reliable predictions in a timely fashion, and, 3) competitors for airspace in which to release combustion products have become much more adept at convincing regulators to tighten the screws on prescribed fire instead of on their industries. Yet the general mood of the attendees and overall conference atmosphere was highly positive. Perhaps this was because the attendees agree with me that healthy ecosystems are the key to our long-term survival on planet Earth?a planet that has been shaped by fire for millennia and that continues to require periodic fire to maintain healthy ecosystems, thus making prescribed fire the Ecological Imperative. Because fire managers have the high ground, I continue to be optimistic that, if we can stifle our self-serving tendencies, be factual, and not exaggerate the benefits nor gloss over the deleterious ramifications of prescribed fire, we can educate the general public and turn them into vocal advocates for the judicious use of fire. My primary objective in this paper is to share some concepts that guided me throughout my career with the hope that they will motivate you to improve your modus operandi and inspire you to expand your fire management outreach activities.

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