PUBlic Professor Series | Dr. Laura Chasmer

Living with the changing flammability of forests

Dr. Laura Chasmer, Department of Geography & Environment

Like many places worldwide, Canada is experiencing increasing impacts from wildfires. Our summers are becoming smokier, fire seasons are getting longer, and fires are becoming more severe and complex, putting communities at risk. When fires impact communities, important questions are asked: Why are wildfires changing? How are they changing? What can we do to protect communities from fire?

In this presentation, you’ll receive a quick introduction to fire behaviour. We’ll then explore how significant changes in forests make fires less predictable and how forests recover from fire. Finally, we’ll look at some innovations under development at the U of L to help fire managers better understand and control fires.

Laura Chasmer is an associate professor in the Department of Geography & Environment at the University of Lethbridge. Laura has spent more than 20 years measuring changing forest, permafrost, and peatland ecosystems using innovative geospatial technologies (like satellites and lasers) and field measurements across western Canada. While she did not intend to become a fire researcher, all her long-term study sites burned down, fortuitously expanding her research into fire. Laura has published more than 70 journal articles. In 2015, Laura received the national Canadian Remote Sensing Society award for outstanding early career achievements and this past January was featured on CBC’s The Nature of Things documentary. She is currently a lead investigator with NSERC Canada Wildfire and is a contributing author to the United Nations Global Peatlands Assessment.

ICYMI: Watch the video