From the moment Fort McMurray was first threatened by fire, Dr. Judith Kulig’s phone began ringing.
The University of Lethbridge Faculty of Health Sciences researcher has earned a reputation as a reliable and knowledgeable expert on issues related to wildfire events. As the scope of the Fort McMurray fire continued to grow, so did the list of media looking to speak with Kulig, who estimates she conducted more than 15 interviews over the past week.
“Our team has devoted significant time in developing user-friendly resources such as our Lessons Learned booklets related to each community we have studied,” says Kulig. “The media has positively responded to these materials, as well as our short summaries that highlight the findings we generated. Sharing these findings with media in the last week highlights the importance of conducting relevant research when we are faced with devastating situations such as Fort McMurray."
Kulig and her Rural Wildfire Study Group (http://www.ruralwildfire.ca/) have been studying wildfire events in Western Canada over the last decade. Their work delves into the lives of those who have experienced wildfire events, the resiliency of their communities and the health factors associated with recovery and rural sustainability.
The group has been on the ground speaking with survivors of wildfire events in La Ronge, Sask. (Mallard Fire, 1999), Crowsnest Pass, Alta. (Lost Creek Fire, 2003), Barriere, B.C. (McLure Fire, 2003) and Slave Lake, Alta. (Slave Lake Fire, 2011). The results of their studies have led to policy directives and the establishment of appropriate disaster recovery protocols.
Kulig and her group have been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), The Institute of Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR), the Government of Alberta, the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research (ACCFCR), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR student award), Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions (AIHS student scholarship) and U of L Chinook Research Summer Awards.
“Just by coincidence, in May 2011, I presented our wildfire research to provincial government officials in Edmonton,” she says. “A few days later, the Slave Lake fires occurred. My presentation and the familiarity with our work led to an invitation by the provincial government to study the impacts of the fire in that community. This highlights the importance of communicating research findings to a wide audience.”
Following are just some of the links associated with stories that Kulig contributed to in the past week. They include radio, television and print media stretching from the Fort McMurray and Edmonton areas to Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, as well as overseas in London (BBC), several European countries, New Zealand and China.
Süddeutsche Zeitung (Switzerland): http://www.sueddeutsche.de/panorama/waldbraende-in-kanada-die-stunde-null-1.2985756
CBC Radio (Day 6): http://www.cbc.ca/radio/day6/episode-284-fort-mcmurray-wildfire-filipino-donald-trump-leicester-city-s-win-free-diving-record-more-1.3570060/how-the-wildfires-will-affect-fort-mcmurray-s-children-1.3570134
De Redactie.Be (Belgium): http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/buitenland/1.2649246
New Zealand Herald: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11635577
Storm.mg (China): http://www.storm.mg/article/115290
Xinhuanet.com (China): http://news.xinhuanet.com/2016-05/08/c_1118825056.htm
May 10, 2016
Daily Maverick (South Africa): http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2016-05-10-wildfires-turning-disaster-into-political-opportunity/#.VzIjCdc2vaA