About this course

This course submerges students from different disciplines in the field of Pyrogreography. Recent years were only a glimpse of what to expect in the future: deadly mega-fires in Mediterranean regions, high fire activity in temperate and boreal areas outside typical fire seasons and regions, politicized deforestation fires in the Amazon, and fires in Australia that have never been seen before. Fire is a highly complex and wicked problem that integrates across the environmental and social sciences, across geographies and climate zones and academia and practice. This course deals with the complex nature of landscape fires and fire management from different disciplinary perspectives including geography, fire science, governance and communication.
Pyrogeography is structured around lectures, tutorials, fieldtrips and an integrating creative project, focusing on fire drivers and impacts, and integrated fire management. Pyrogeography acknowledges that fire is a natural process that is inherently spatial, and hence needs to be addressed from an integrated fire management perspective.
The course builds around three blocks. First, we introduce the fundamentals of fire science, and the environmental and social drivers and impacts of fire. These fire fundamentals are applied in the second week that focuses on integrated fire management, placing the knowledge obtained in an international context, linking science and practice. In this block, a combination of scientific insights and theories as well as insights from the field of fire management, e.g. through guest lectures and webinars of fire managers across the globe, will be offered. Second, based on insights from integrated fire management, students will apply knowledge obtained and from their own discipline to different cases and contexts, as well as analyse prime examples of fire management. Here a combination of desk studies and fieldtrips is part of the program. Third, students will implement their obtained knowledge in a creative assignment supporting integrative fire management.
Throughout the course, students work with the wealth of online open data that exists related to fires, learning the tools in week 1 and applying these tools and data in their own project. Another recurring aspect in this course is the strong link between science and practice: students learn from and work with a large variety of stakeholders from the international fire community, including in their final project. As such, this course introduces students to the diversity of jobs that can be done in fire.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • understand the basic principles of fire with its environmental and social drivers and impacts;
  • apply this knowledge to assess implications for the integrated management of fire in an international context, linking science and practice;
  • integrate the disciplinary, multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary knowledge gained to make creative information material tailored to a specific case and context;
  • explore, assess and use online open data, and explore the range of job types in fire in academia and practice.

Required prior knowledge

Mandatory Knowledge:
Student is registered as an MSc student.
Assumed Knowledge:
A Bachelor’s degree in any field of science or art, and an open mind and the willingness to (rapidly) learn from other disciplines.
Because this is such an interdisciplinary course aimed at students from such varied study programs, there is no prerequisite knowledge or courses. Knowledge of SDC35306 Natural Hazards and Disasters is welcome though not required - the basics of disaster science will be covered for students who have not followed this course.

Link to more information

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