David Martell, a professor emeritus in the forestry program at the Daniels Faculty, has been named the recipient of the 2020 Ember Award for Excellence in Wildland Fire Science, a prize given by the International Association of Wildland Fire to scientists who have demonstrated sustained excellence in wildland fire research.
In its public notice about the award, the IAWF noted Martell's 45-year career as a wildland fire researcher — especially his efforts to conduct operational research on forest fire suppression and apply that research to the creation of simulation models. The Ontario government used the results of Martell's research to determine how to manage its air tanker fleet, and his work enabled the creation of new techniques for weighing the costs and benefits of different fire suppression systems.
"Dr. Martell has had a strong influence on the development of fire leaders and managers across Canada because he dedicated time to understanding their operational point of view, integrating academic and operational perspectives, and absorbing the real application of fire management," the IAWF writes.
Martell is the co-director (with Mike Wotton) of the Daniels Faculty's Fire Management Systems Laboratory, where he conducts research on fire in boreal forest ecosystems.
"I'm very honoured to be the 2020 recipient of the Ember award," Martell says. "Although I am the recipient, this award recognizes research that I carried out in collaboration with my graduate students, research assistants, other researchers, and forest fire management personnel of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF). I'm very grateful for their contributions, and for the financial support I've received from the OMNRF, as well as the University of Toronto and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada."