Poster for Fire, Rescue & New Challenges #4. Photo Credit: Stefan Doerr (distributed via
Desde to
Online (Zoom) Start time listed here in CET, Central European Time. See article text for other time zones
31 Mar 2022

See the full program for the 2022 CTIF Webinar "Climate Change & Firefighting"

The CTIF Webinar is back  with an exciting lineup of speakers with lessons learned from important events during the catastrophic year of 2021: Deadly flooding in central Europe, catastrophic heatwaves killing almost 1000 people in Western Canada, mega fires threatening the capital of Greece... 2021 was the year noone wants to relive - yet Climate Change is likely to get worse.  

Firefighters, on any level, in any size community, always carry an extremely large responsibility to protect the public when nature turns on us - often the population we protect don't even often grasp how few brave firefighters -  often on a volunteer basis - carry  the safety of so many of us in their hands. Furthermore,  the needs for more efficient protection is expected to rise -  perhaps without any significant budget increases for the local fire brigades. 

Be apart of the solution! Learn from others,   spread the lessons!  Hear CTIF members share their experiences and tell their lessons learned from some of the largest weather related events in human history: 

Link to the Registration Form


Drop-in for networking starts at 14:30 CET on Pairl 6 - the actual program starts at 15:00. All participants will be sent a personal invitation to Zoom. If you have not registered yet, please do so on the link above! 


A graph over how the fire risk in Greece has changed over the last decade.
A graph over how the fire risk in Greece has changed over the last decade. From the presentation of Zisoula Ntasiou, fire lieutenant Colonel in the Hellenic Fire Corps,


  • Opening:
  • 14:00 - 14:30 DROP IN TECH CHECK (Only for presenters)
  • 14:30: Free Drop-in & Networking (Everyone) 
  • 15:00: Webinar opening words by CTIF President
  • 15:05: Short video presentation 



  • 15:10  Scientific & Strategic Oversight - New Commission within CTIF  (15 min)
  • 15:25: Mega fires arrive in Europe: The Greek experience and AFF Response in 2021 (25 + 5)
  • 15:50: Q/A

15:55 - 16:05 BREAK (10 min)

  • 16:05: Extreme floods in Germany, summer 2021: (35 + 5) Insights into various days of flood disaster operations and what we learned from them
  • 16:40: Q/A
  • 16:45: Generic Extinguishing method for propagating Li-ion batteries (20 + 5)
  • 17:05: Q/A

17:10 - 17:15 BREAK (5 min)

  • 17:15: Extreme Weather in Canada 2021: Floods, mudslides, extreme temperatures and explosive wildfires (25 + 5)
  • 17:40: Q/A
  • 17:45: A personal story of how a small BC voluntary fire service got cut off from all outside help during floods (30 + 5)
  • 18:15: Q/A
  • 18:20: Climate Change: What do we observe? What do we expect?
  • 18:40: Q/A


  • 18:45: Closing words
  • 18:50: End of Webinar 


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Speakers List:


Prof. Dr. Lucia WickertExtreme floods in Germany, summer 2021: 

Insights into various days of flood disaster operations and what we learned from them

Start time 16:05 CET

Prof. Dr. Lucia Wickert from the German Association of Fire Services will speak about the extreme rain and flooding in German, a catastrophic event which claimed unprecedented amounts of human lives and vast material destruction.

About 56,000 people live in the Ahrweiler region where Dr Wickert was deployed. An area of 200 hectares was flooded and more than 17,000 people lost their belongings. From about 4,000 buildings, approx. 3,000 are damaged and of these, approx. 600 are completely destroyed. Over 60 bridges were destroyed. Fire departments and relief organizations as well as special units were in action and encountered unforeseen problems due to the extensive destruction of infrastructure. The operations were analyzed and the results should lead to better preparation before extreme weather events. With the statement - @What lessons have we learned" - I would like to pass on what we have learned so far.

Prof. Dr. Lucia Wickert  has been a member of the fire department in Troisdorf for 30 years and is specialized on ABC missions and measurement technology. Additionally, since 2017, she has been part of the specialist service of the Analytical Task Force of the Cologne Fire Department. As a professor of molecular biomedicine, she is teaching at the Cologne (Köln)  University of Applied Sciences.


Chief John McKearney

Extreme Weather in Canada 2021: Floods, mudslides, extreme temperatures and explosive wildfires

Start time: 17:15 CET

 Chief John McKearney president of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs / CTIF Canada will speak about how the many extreme weather related events in 2021, ranging from extreme temperatures, explosive forest fires to vast and devastating mudslides, within less than six months have affected national Canadian climate policies as they pertain to  firefighters.

Under his leadership,  the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs has been working with the Canadian federal government on various initiatives to deal with extreme weather and the effect it can have on both communities and first responders. 


Tom DeSorcyChief Tom DeSorcy, Municipality of Hope, BC

Start time: 17:45 CET

Chief Tom DeSorcy will tell his personal story of how a small British Columbia town of only 6500 people - nestled in between several major highways - ended up in the center of major weather related events. Hundreds of stranded travellers had to be rescued as a result of 3 atmospheric rivers that hit the south coast.  The rivers were rising and the fire service faced the potential of mass evacuations of residents as well. The firefighters,  accept for chief, are all volunteer / part time, and were tasked with providing many services from medical first response to offloading numerous helicopters and fixed wing aircraft of supplies for the community and dealing with 3 structure fires during the period.  Mutual aid was largely cut off as a result of the road closures. Tom DeSorcy became the first paid firefighter in his hometown of Hope, B.C., when he became fire chief in 2000. Originally a radio broadcaster, Tom’s voice could be heard in the early 1990s across Canada as one of the hosts of Country Coast to Coast. Tom is very active with the Fire Chiefs’ Association of British Columbia as communications director and conference committee chair.


Zisoula Ntasiou from Greece will be speaking about the wildfires near Athens, 2021.

Mega fires arrive in Europe : The Greek experience and AFF Response in 2021

Fire season 2021 in Greece was the most difficult fire season we had to face since 2007. It gave us 13 extreme wildfire events, 3 of them at the same day and burned more than 115.000 hectares.

Start time: 15:25 CET

EU has mobilized one of the largest ever European deployments of firefighters and aircrafts in history and the Hellenic Fire Corps had to coordinate 102 Greek and foreign aerial means. The National Coordination Center of Operations and Crisis Management manages and coordinates all the forest fires in Greece and is represented by all the competent bodies, such as Hellenic Army, Air Force, Hellenic Police and Forest Protection Service.

Zisoula Ntasiou is a Fire Lieutenant Colonel in the Hellenic Fire Corps, part of the General Secretariat for Civil Protection and the Ministry for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection. She graduated from the Hellenic Fire Academy in 2002, in addition she holds a degree and a master degree in Forestry (School of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki).


Dr Kathrine Baumann-StanzerClimate Change: What can we observe? What can we expect?

Start time: 18:20 CET


Dr. Kathrin Baumann-Stanzer, Head of Section Environmental Meteorology, ZAMG Customer Service

The Austrian National Meteorological and Geophysical Service founded in 1851 is the world's oldest meteorological centre. Services and applied research in  weather forecasting, climate and earthquake monitoring, climate modelling, analysis and prediction of air pollution. 

This presentation will talk about more frequent responses to weather-related incidents, longer wildfire seasons, more emergency declarations and longer recovery phases, health and safety concerns for fire and emergency medical service personnel, water supply insecurity, risk of CBRN events occurring as a result of damage to military installations or chemical industry with storage of hazardous substances is bound to rise, green energy-related incidents: photovoltaic systems, backup battery banks, electrical or mechanical faults at wind turbines leading to ignition. 




Jonas Vogelström from Volvo Cars

Generic Extinguishing method for propagating Li-ion batteries

Start time: 16:45

Within the spirit of the work to combat Climate Change, we have also invited Jonas Fogelström from Volvo Cars to speak about a recent research project to create a generic method for handling and extinguishing thermal events in Li-ion battery applications. 

The purpose of this project is to clarify, demonstrate and communicate a generic method for handling and extinguishing thermal events in Li-ion battery applications. It also includes clarification of personal risks, electrical safety and environmental impact to create knowledge and security among rescue services and electric car customers, markets and media globally.


Dr Rickard HansenNew Scientific and Strategic Oversight Work Group (CTIF - SSOC)

Start time: 15:10 CET

We will also hear a short presentation from Dr Rickard Hansen, Sweden, on the latest Work Group within CTIF,  the ScientificStrategic Oversight Commission, which will combine scientific expertise within CTIF with strategic plans to expand and support the work of our Commissions and other Work Groups. 

Rickard Hansen (PhD, MSc) is a researcher and a fire protection engineer, specialised in fires in underground hard rock mines. In 2015 he successfully defended his doctoral dissertation on heat release rates of mining vehicles in underground mines. Besides his research activities he has more than 25 years of experience as a fire officer and fire protection engineer.


Practical Information

The language for the seminar will be English. Those needing translation are encouraged to arrange this in their own fire stations or workplaces as it is not provided by CTIF at this time. 

Start time:

The start time for the Seminar will be 15:00 - 18:00 Central European Time. (Brussels). Duration is 3 hours. 

UTC / GMT: 13:00 / 01:00 pm

PST Pacific Time:  6:00 am  - San Francisco / Los Angeles / Seattle - (Canadian speakers will have the last two speaking slots between 8:00 and 9:00 am) 

EST New York: 9:00 am

Tokyo: 22:00

For more time zones, please refer to this online Meeting Planner. Punch in April 6, 2022 and add your nearest city representing your time zone. 

This is a free webinar and it is CTIF´s third virtual seminar since the pandemic began. The first seminar in the series was held in Brussels in the Autumn of 2018, and the second was held Ostrava, Czech Republic in Autumn 2019.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have held seminars online, and even though Europe is opening up as we speak, we have decided it is more practical given the time constraints to hold also the seminar for 2022 online. CTIF plans to resume regular physical seminars as soon as travel conditions improve, hopefully no later than 2023.


Photo Credit: Government of NWT Government. A boreal firest in the NorthWest Territory of northern Canada. Background photo by  Stefan Doerr (distributed via
Experimental forest fire in the remote NorthWest Territories of Canada. The NWT Government provides forest plots for experimental fires used to examine fire behaviour and the effectiveness of fire prevention, suppression and safety measures. We use these fires to determine the carbon balance of wildfires. Fires emit carbon, but this is normally sequestered by the regrowing vegetation. In addition recurring fire and regrowth cycles can act as carbon sink due to the longevity of the charcoal they produce. An outcome from such a fire was the following publication: Santín, C., Doerr, S.H., Preston C. & González-Rodríguez, G. (2015) Pyrogenic organic matter production from wildfires: a missing sink in the global carbon cycle. Global Change Biology, 21, 1621-1633. Taken on 2 July 2015
Submitted on 10 February 2018