Background/Question/Methods Continental North America comprises three countries that offer contrasting fire management strategies and fire management histories. With these diverse conditions and with increasing occurrence of large, severe wildfires, it is time to reflect on experiences gained from the three countries and to assess common knowledge gaps to address emerging needs of contemporary fire management.
There is an increasingly urgent need to adapt, or even transform, fire management in North America and scientific publication is not enough to get the knowledge into the hands of wildland fire practitioners. Ultimately, a different approach is needed, where research is aligned with current and future needs and results are actively and deliberately shared in a manner that supports decision-making. We propose developing a Blueprint for collaboration across borders to accomplish this.
The proposal to develop a North American (NA) Blueprint for Wildland Fire Science Collaboration was initiated at the NAFC-FMWG meeting in 2018. In 2019, the FMWG fully endorsed the proposed initiative and added it as an ongoing item on its work plan. As a first step, an ad-hoc group of representatives from government agencies and academia across Canada, the United States and Mexico have outlined a path forward towards a North American Blueprint.
Results/Conclusions The development of a North American Blueprint for Wildland Fires Science Collaboration should foster at least three clear goals. First, it should identify common research themes and priorities as a basis for enhanced collaboration. Second, it will identify and offer proposed solutions to barriers to international research collaboration on wildland fire. Finally, it should help expand international networks and knowledge exchange forums. The intention is to not simply produce a document, but a living collaboration where the Blueprint is the roadmap.
Wildland fire management involves planning activities that go well beyond fire. The development of the North American Blueprint for Wildland Fire Science Collaboration will be purpose driven, based on shared priorities, and will privilege the co-creation of solutions by scientists and fire management practitioners.
This co-production approach with a diverse group of scientists and managers should lead to a better shared understanding of wildfire problems as well as the development of novel solutions to those problems.