Cal professor to speak on wildfire behavior in Grass Valley |

Cal professor to speak on wildfire behavior in Grass Valley

On June 2, University of California, Berkeley Professor of Fire Science Scott Stephens will give a talk on the science and politics of fire management and prevention, habitat restoration, setting policy, and adapting to changing landscapes. He will also explain why the next two to three decades are absolutely critical in terms of forest preservation and restoration.

Stephens will be featured at the Gold Country Cal Alumni Association’s Summer Speaker’s Dinner at the Holbrooke Hotel, a speaker’s series sponsored by the local chapter. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. on June 2, with cocktails and social time, followed by dinner at 6:15 p.m. Members of the public are welcome.

As fire season approaches, many residents find themselves confronted with conflicting information from the media, insurance companies and a variety of governmental and nonprofit agencies. Questions arise around the benefits of logging, controlled burns, selective brush clearing and more. Who should pay for remediation? Who should perform the work? How do we protect and prioritize wildlife, human life and structures?

Stephens is interested in the interactions of wildland fire and ecosystems. This includes how prehistoric fires once interacted with ecosystems, how current wildland fires are affecting ecosystems, and how future fires and management may change this interaction. He is also interested in wildland fire and forest policy and how it can be improved to meet the challenges of the next decades, including the impact of changes in weather. A new area of research is how forest resilience and mountain hydrology interact. Stephens has testified before several subcommittees of the U.S. House of Representatives and has been invited to the White House to speak.

Gold Country Cal Alumni Association is a nonprofit organization connecting alumni and faculty, providing scholarships to qualified high school seniors, and representing U.C. Berkeley in and around Nevada County. For reservations and more information, call 530-477-9888.

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