Published July 5, 2024 | Version v1
Report Open

Igniting Progress: Outcomes from the FLARE workshop and three challenges for the future of transdisciplinary fire science

  • 1. ROR icon North Carolina State University
  • 2. ROR icon UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
  • 3. University of Brest, Plouzane, France
  • 4. ROR icon Barcelona Supercomputing Center
  • 5. Met Office Hadley Centre, UK
  • 6. United States Environmental Protection Agency, USA
  • 7. Atmospheric Chemistry Observations & Modeling Laboratory, NSF National Centre for Atmospheric Research, Boulder USA
  • 8. Centro de Investigación en Tecnologias para la Sociedad, Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile
  • 9. University of Botswana
  • 10. TUD Dresden University of Technology, Germany
  • 11. University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA
  • 12. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, USA
  • 13. Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá, Colombia
  • 14. iLEAPS International Project Office
  • 15. Swedish hub of Future Earth
  • 16. ROR icon European Space Agency
  • 17. Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia, UK
  • 18. Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, India
  • 19. NASA Ames Research Center, USA
  • 20. University of Oviedo, Spain
  • 21. ROR icon Spanish National Research Council
  • 22. McMaster University, Canada
  • 23. University of Washington, Seattle, USA
  • 24. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Biospheric Sciences Lab, Greenbelt, USA
  • 25. University de Franche-Comte, CNRS, France
  • 26. ROR icon University of Bern
  • 27. ROR icon Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research


Fire substantially influences and modulates the global carbon cycle through numerous processes, interactions, and feedbacks. Fires are strongly intertwined with human activities: people act both as drivers of change through ignitions, suppression, land-cover change, prescribed burning, and climate change, and are affected in return by changes in fire regimes. Despite fire’s many complex interactions throughout the Earth System, it is often viewed only as a destructive process, and one that solely acts as a source of atmospheric carbon. In terms of fire’s carbon budget, the release of carbon only represents the very initial stages of the process, missing the drivers and complex ways in which fire shapes plant species evolution and ecosystem trajectories, nutrient cycling and redistribution, carbon allocation, deposition and sequestration over different spatiotemporal scales. Therefore, there is a clear need to fully understand the role of fire in the Earth System holistically. However, different aspects of fire’s role in the carbon cycle are often studied by different communities and disciplines, hindering this much-needed integrated understanding. 

Through the Fire Learning AcRoss the Earth Systems (FLARE) workshop (September 2023) we brought together fire scientists across multiple disciplines to facilitate transdisciplinary discussion. We highlight a poor constraint on understanding the future impacts of fires on the Earth system, which stems from a lack of communication between relevant fields of expertise. In particular, a disconnect was identified between scientific approaches to understanding and characterising fire processes and the societal implications of fire events. We identify three main challenges that need to be addressed by the global fire community: unifying transdisciplinary research around common boundary objects, further understanding and quantifying the role of fire in the carbon cycle; better characterising fire and extreme events; and taking a holistic approach to understand fire interactions with humans.



Files (8.1 MB)

Name Size Download all
8.1 MB Preview Download

Additional details