September 26, 2022

Alison Cullen Leads Research on Wildfire Risk

Alison Cullen, the Daniel J. Evans Endowed Professor of Environmental Policy at the Evans School, along with researchers from University of Washington, NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research), and University of California, Merced, leads an NSF-funded project titled, ”Managing Future Risk of Increasing Simultaneous Megafires,“ that explores the challenges megafires currently pose to decision makers and stakeholders, and supports proactive planning for future scenarios to mitigate risk. This interdisciplinary research team brings expertise in decision science, climate science, statistics, and fire science to collaborations with a host of decision makers including fire managers, fire ecologists, and land managers for tribal and U.S. government agencies.  

Emblematic of this work have been two recent co-authored publications the explore wildfire risk and managements strategies. In June 2022, Evans Ph.D. student Sunniva Bloem, along with Cullen and co-authors, published an article, “The Role of International Resource Sharing Arrangements in Managing Fire in the Face of Climate Change,” in the journal, Fire. Longer and more impactful fire seasons are proving to outstrip national fire suppression capacity in many settings, which have led to resource sharing arrangements between countries across the globe. The authors explore the recent emergence of these partnerships and identify paths to strengthening cross-national resource sharing agreements. 

More recently, Cullen contributed to the work of a large team that published an article entitled, “Reimagine Fire Science for the Anthropocene,“ in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Nexus. Amidst rising fire dangers globally, the article develops a cross-disciplinary research agenda essential to improving mitigation of and response to an “increasingly flammable world.”