We can reduce wildfire risk and counter climate change’s impacts through precise, coordinated action that remains rooted in science. The Climate and Wildfire Institute connects existing climate and wildfire science to policy- and decision-makers and speeds the implementation of science-based approaches on the ground. CWI leverages the academy’s research talent, the private sector’s nimbleness, and the public sector’s decision-making leadership for faster and more innovative solutions.
Coordination and inclusion are essential to finding equitable and scalable solutions to wildfire and climate issues. To this end, the CWI builds on the work of other efforts and institutions that maintain similar objectives to more effectively and collaboratively address the vast array of climate and wildfire challenges we currently face.
In particular, the size and severity of recent wildfires have pushed the limits of our existing scientific understanding, policy instruments, and technical capability. Getting ahead of the wildfire problem—or effectively adapting to the reality of wildfire while mitigating its worst impacts in the most vulnerable places—requires a strategy that will accelerate learning and rapidly transform resulting insights into effective policy. This strategy must dramatically advance wildfire and air quality predictions on time scales ranging from days to seasons to decades. It will transform wildland management and planning to restore ecological health, reduce wildfire risk in the wildland-urban interface, and develop forward-looking policies informed by the best science to protect vulnerable landscapes and the health and well-being of at-risk communities.
Wildfire is only one of many interconnected risks posed by a changing climate. The research community is working to tackle some of these risks. However, these efforts are only occasionally connected to policy solutions and on-the-ground adaptation. There needs to be a sustained commitment to actualize the full value of these initiatives at either the state or federal levels.
Of course, these problems are not exclusively burdening California—they are shared by neighboring states and provinces and by drought and fire-prone regions worldwide. A collective and cohesive approach has the best chance of mobilizing the necessary resources while building the capacity to enact meaningful policies and practices. To this end, the Climate and Wildfire Institute’s work will build on the understanding that we must coordinate science and technology innovations, couple them with effective communication strategies, and relay them to policymakers to be most effective.
This effort of synthesizing policy, science, and operations into cohesive action at the local, state, and federal levels will be essential in restoring balance to our landscapes and ultimately transforming our collective relationship with wildfire.
Open Consortium Model
As a boundary organization, the Climate Wildfire Institute operates at the nexus among the public, private, tribal, and academic sectors using an open consortium model. With this model, CWI aims to overcome the institutional limitations and lags inherent to each industry while providing the operational capacity to move more seamlessly between sectors; this will also aid in the rapid facilitation of research services built on the best available science and technologies. Numerous leading scientists and researchers in the field of Climate and Wildfire are supporting this effort, all with affiliations at a diverse cross-section of research institutions.
Inclusivity is an essential principle of the Climate Wildfire Institute. Partners interested in building long-term capacity across sectors are welcome.