Knowledge Integration Seminar

Five Unsolved Questions in Fire Management

Canada is a country of fire. Our landscape depends on these renewing flames, our communities are profoundly affected by these fiery incursions, and our governments invest a huge amount of money into trying to fight an endless supply of massive blazes. At first blush, this fight seems simple: with more water, firefighters, money, or technology, we’d be able to keep control over the flames. Yet, decade after decade, fire proves that it’s anything but simple. In fact, it’s full of unsolved questions and open debates about things that seem like they should have been settled eons ago.

In this talk we’ll discuss five questions that are surprisingly vexing. From trying to count up how much fire there actually is, to figuring out how to solve fiery inter-species battles, these five questions all have two commonalities. First, they’re all subjects where many experts would readily pronounce a simple answer – but reality couldn’t be more different. And, second, they’re all ultimately questions that drew me as a KI grad to studying something entirely unlikely, but highly integrative: wildfire.
Eric KennedyEric Kennedy is an Assistant Professor in Disaster and Emergency Management within the School of Administrative Studies at York University. His research focuses on understanding and improving decision-making processes within emergency management issues, exploring how these groups handle uncertainty, complex stakeholder relationships, and ever-changing socio-environmental conditions. He works primarily on wildfire management, with secondary emphases on catastrophic flooding, aviation safety, and emergency medical services.

He earned his PhD in the Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology from Arizona State University, where he was affiliated with the Risk Innovation Lab and the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes. Eric was in the first graduating class of the Bachelor of Knowledge Integration.

Highly interested in interdisciplinary collaborations, Kennedy brings strengths in qualitative research methods (including interviewing, questionnaire research, and ethnographic observation) and regularly teaches courses on these subjects to practitioners. He is also the Founder and Director of the Forum on Science, Policy, and Society, a Canadian not-for-profit organization dedicated to training young leaders to work at the science/policy interface. Outside of this professional work, Kennedy is an avid cyclist, hiker, and paddler.

Friday, September 14, 2018
Environment 3 (EV3), room 1408

Knowledge Integration seminar series Fall 2018