Position Paper Release
December 6, 2016
AFE Releases New Position Paper 
Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination in Wildland Fire Management Must be Addressed 

For the last year and a half, AFE has been investigating the issue of sexual harassment and gender discrimination in wildland fire.  In the summer of 2015 we released a survey on this topic in English, Spanish, and French, and we received over 350 responses.  In November of 2015, we opened our 6th International Fire Ecology and Management Congress in San Antonio, Texas with a  plenary panel on this topic. With presentations from experts from four countries, we learned that this issue is ubiquitous, and that there is dire need for immediate action to remedy this problem.

Building on this work, AFE assembled a team of experts to dig deeper into this issue, analyzing current research as well as our international survey findings.   The result is  a position paper that reveals widespread sexual harassment and gender discrimination in wildland fire management. 

Last week, Congress held a hearing addressing this issue, and invited written testimony from the Association for Fire Ecology.   We were honored to have the opportunity to submit our position paper to the congressional record  at a December 1st hearing in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that addressed harassment and discrimination in the Department of Agriculture and U.S. Forest Service. 

AFE's release of its report coincides with Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, held annually since 1991 to raise awareness of gender-based violence around the world. 

AFE's Press Advisory   (feel free to share with your media contacts)
Position Paper Executive Summary  

* Sexual harassment (SH) and gender discrimination (GD) occur in workplaces around the world. While they affect both women and men, they appear to affect significantly larger portions of the female than the male workforce.
* Our survey confirmed that they are found in the wildland fire vocation as well.
* Of 342 respondents, 32% reported observing incidents of SH in the workplace while 24% reported having experienced it.
* Additionally, 54% reported observing GD of others in the workplace and 44% reported personally experiencing discrimination.
* These figures may be an underestimate, since SH and GD are typically underreported.
* The majority of respondents who experienced SH (64%) or GD (60%) did not report it.
* Reporting SH often does not improve and sometimes worsens the outcomes for the reporting person.
* Our survey indicated that those who reported SH were supported by their manager 58% of the time and by their organization 53% of the time, but rarely by external agencies or legal intervention.
* Those who reported GD received even less support, with managers being supportive only 28% of the time, and organizations being supportive only 25% of the time.
* Respondents described numerous impacts from the harassment and discrimination they experienced, including: negative repercussions for their career; feelings of depression, anger, or anxiety, and even mental health breakdowns; and substance abuse.
* We, the Association for Fire Ecology, are committed to promoting awareness about the issues revealed by this study among our members, the public, and the mass media.
* We strongly recommend additional training of fire management personnel and supervisors beyond what is currently provided on gender discrimination and sexual harassment.
* We strongly recommend the establishment of arm's length reporting centers that are removed from the chain of command, where affected persons can report sexual harassment and gender discrimination, free from backlash within their working units.
Support your Professional Association!
Now more than ever, we need your support!

This last year has been very busy for AFE!  We've been working hard to complete our Sexual Harassment/Gender Discrimination Position Paper, we've been invited to provide testimony to Congress on this topic, and we're working to release another paper in the next few months on scientist/manager interaction and communication.  We've just held a fantastic event in Tucson with 325 attendees, over 50 of whom are students, representing the next generation of wildland fire professionals.  And now we're in full swing organizing our 7th International Fire Congress which will be held next November in Orlando.  We're also planning another conference in Missoula in Spring 2018.  As well, we're in the process of certifying our latest cohort of Wildland Fire Professionals and Academic Programs.  And our journal Fire Ecology  continues to grow and improve in ratings.  We have so much we want to accomplish, won't you join us? 

Your Membership supports all of these activities and more!  All memberships are tax deductible.
AFE's Board of Directors Seeking Nominations
Deadline extended until December 12, 2016. Send Applications to: office@fireecology.net

The Association for Fire Ecology relies on its membership to further our mission of "improving the knowledge and use of fire in land management through science and education." We are looking for new members to fill both board and committee positions. In December, AFE will be holding elections for our Board of Directors and may have several positions to fill. If you are interested in running for the board, please send us your resume or CV, a short statement of your desire to serve on the board, what committee(s) you are interested in joining, and your general vision of how you hope to contribute to AFE's work.

Expectations: We have a very active "working" board who do much of the behind-the-scenes work that make our conferences and other programs a success. Board members are invited to serve on committees, but are not required to. We have required monthly phone conference board meetings and an annual in-person meeting which is held at our conferences. Board members are expected to contribute to decision making and supporting AFE in maintaining its goals as identified in our Strategic Plan. Board members should be familiar with the by-laws and code of ethics, as found on our website. Board terms are for 2 years.

In addition to serving on the Board, AFE members can also contribute to the organization through serving on committees and offering valuable help to our ongoing projects. Our committees include: Awards, Conferences, Education, Finance, Funding Development, Governance, Journal, Outreach, and Sections. For details, see our website: fireecology.org/committees .
AFE's 7th Fire Ecology and Management Congress
Save the Dates!

Organizing is well under way for AFE's 7th International Fire Ecology and Management Congress, to be held in Orlando, Florida, November 28-December 2, 2017.  The theme of this event is FireVision 20/20: A 20 Year Reflection and Look into the Future.  This event will be held concurrently with the 2nd Applied Fire Science Workshop.  Call for Papers coming Soon.