More than 3,000 forest fire experts from 80 nations gathered in Pyeongchang-gun County, Gangwon-do Province, on Oct. 12 to attend the sixth International Wildland Fire Conference (IWFC).
Throughout the conference, which will continue until Oct. 16 and whose theme this year is “Fire of the Past, Fire in Future,” participants will share their technology and know-how from their own nations concerning how to respond to forest fires more effectively. They will also discuss ways to enhance international cooperation on the management and prevention of forest fires.
A series of presentations kicked off the conference in earnest. The speeches focused on: each nation’s experiences in forest fire management; wildfires and the forest ecosystem; advanced technologies and experiences in extinguishing wild fires swiftly and effectively; and, lastly, the prevention, control and monitoring of forest fires.
Life sciences Professor Steve Pyne from Arizona State University gave a speech on the history of wild fires. Sarah McCaffrey, a researcher at the U.S. Forest Service, shared with the audience U.S. strategies designed to manage its frequent large-scale forest fires and also measures to strengthen wildfire response capabilities.
A representative from the Korea Forest Service shared his nation’s policies on fighting forest fires, policies designed to accommodate the nation’s distinctive topography.
Besides speeches, participants browsed around exhibits at booths, part of the sideline events, viewing a demonstration of the way in which wildfires can be extinguished in the future.
“Hopefully, this conference will allow countries in attendance to share their expertise and the technology required to respond to forest fires more effectively and to find a common consensus, too,” said Minister Shin Won-sop of the Korea Forest Service in his congratulatory speech during the opening ceremony.
The International Wildland Fire Conference was launched in the U.S. in 1989 and has been held every four years since, and Korea has now become the first Asian nation to host the conference.
By Sohn JiAe
Korea.net Staff Writer
Photos: the Korea Forest Service