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Author: Carmen Rodríguez

Wildfire science enters the Spanish Congress 

The work of Oficina C brings science to policymaking in Spain 

In 2019, the church of Notre Dame burnt down. Citizens of Hong Kong took the streets to protest for a better democracy. Students protested against inequality in Chile. The Amazon burned (and the hashtag #PrayforAmazonas went viral). Theresa May resigned as prime minister of the UK, and Simone Biles became the gymnast with the most medals in the history of world championships. Anyone slightly following the news probably remembers most of these events. 

However, in this blogpost I will talk about something else that happened in 2019, in this case in Spain, that went unheard of for most. It was the year when the Spanish Congress approved the creation of the Office for Science and Technology (Oficina C), in order to support a scientifically informed debate in the lower House. And you may wonder why is this relevant at all. It is relevant, because we live in the era of the “post-truth”. An era when fake-news appear on a daily basis, and where online disinformation is a matter of public concern. Making scientific findings accessible for policymakers has always been relevant, but now we need to facilitate evidence-based discussions more than ever.  

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Let’s talk fire: How to move Integrated Fire Management forward?

The last training of the Pyrolife project for its 15 Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs) took place on the 19th-30th of September in the Netherlands. Pyrolife is an Innovative Training Network funded under the Marie Curie Programme (MSCA-ITN) which supports the PhD training and research of 15 candidates working on wildfire-related issues across different European countries, covering a wide array of disciplines from engineering to human geography and sociology.

The whole Pyrolife training program is designed and anchored upon the recognition of the urgent need for change in the way our (highly heterogeneous) societies manage, govern and relate to wildfires across the globe. The project takes up the imperative of building landscape resilience through a better understanding of fire drivers, risk, and impacts, as well as creative approaches to risk reduction that are sustainable in the long term.

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“Extreme wildfires are not new, even if they appear to be”

A Lecture on Extreme Wildfires in the European South by Paulo Fernandes as part of thePyroLife International Symposium: Towards an Integrated Fire Management

Fire has been for centuries a modeler of Mediterranean landscapes in southern Europe. Climate change as well as current trends in land use and landscape changes are triggering extreme fire activity, posing new challenges to the region. Paulo Fernandes explains which are these new challenges, and what is the way forward.

We live with fire. But mostly, we live with the worst kind of fire” – started Paulo Fernandes, in reference to Portugal. As a professor and researcher in The University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, he knows well this kind of phenomena. Within the fire community, this “worst kind of fires” are widely known as “extreme wildfires”.

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