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Accepted Paper:

Working Towards an Equitable and Inclusive Fire Future: A Research Centre’s Experiences in Decolonising Fire Science  
Abigail Croker (Imperial College London) Adriana Ford (Imperial College London)

Paper short abstract:

Colonial legacies persist in fire science, preventing indigenous and local peoples from influencing knowledge production and management. The Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires is running a series of theoretical, experiential, and active inter-cultural workshops to decolonise their fire sciences.

Paper long abstract:

Colonial interpretations of fire as a destructive phenomenon and degradative land management practice have silenced diverse indigenous and local knowledges over the beneficial role of fire in social-ecological environments. The pursuit of a Euro-centric, objective wildfire science has engendered a recent pyric transition; a decline in local community burning due to the enforcement of fire suppression policies and top-down prescribed burning programmes have fostered the conditions for large wildfire events that exceed natural variability levels, as well as driven an increase in fire ignitions related to agrarian political resistance and protest. The Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society are running a series of Decolonising Fire Science workshops to theoretically, experientially, and actively address the coloniality of research and historical and institutional injustices structured into wildfire science. We bring together researchers in both social and physical sciences, stakeholders, and rightsholders from across the world to think about and apply principles of decolonisation in their fire science, highlighting the importance of experimental learning exchanges that celebrate epistemological freedom and other ways of knowing. Our practices involve intercultural workshops, rich pictures, world café discussions, participatory videos, archival studies, and active burning experiences to invite other knowledges and diverse worldviews to co-create fire-related research and influence the future production of knowledge on wildfires.

Panel P70
Decolonising Wildfire Research and Challenging its Colonial Legacies
  Session 1 Friday 30 June, 2023, -