Faces of Forestry is an initiative of the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) to highlight people doing great work to enhance our forests throughout British Columbia. This month, we feature Kelsey Winter, Wildfire Operations Manager with FPInnovations and former FireSmart Program Lead for the BC Wildfire Service and the former Chair of the BC FireSmart Committee (BCFSC).
After working as a Sales Account Manager for an international shipping company in Belgium, Kelsey returned to Canada to make it her forever home. Later, she found the inspiration to join the forestry sector; after spending her summers working with the Kamloops Fire Centre.
“I loved being an initial attack crew member and then leader, and rapidly fell in love with the science behind wildfire, everything from grass curing to Kestrel tuning,” said Kelsey.
Kelsey has a Master’s in Fire Ecology, and a Master’s in Natural Resources, and she is currently pursuing her PhD in Public Administration, focusing on wildfire resiliency for Indigenous communities.
“I stayed in the field long enough to start my first Master’s degree and then moved into a strategic communications role in the office while I finished my second degree. I’ve been with wildfire ever since.”
Recently, Kelsey moved to her new role as the Wildfire Operations Manager with FPInnovations.
“It has been a big change, but one that I’m incredibly excited about. FPInnovations is an R&D organization that specializes in the creation of solutions that accelerate the growth of the Canadian forest sector and its affiliated industries to enhance their global competitiveness. I’m about to get even more forest-y!” said Kelsey.
Before moving to this role, Kelsey was the FireSmart Program Lead for the BC Wildfire Service and the Chair of the BCFSC for seven years. In her role, Kelsey led the development and implementation of the FireSmart strategic goals across the Province.
FireSmart BC is the first point of contact for residents and stakeholders in all things wildfire, from risk mitigation to resident education, to working in collaboration with industry leaders and communities to building community wildfire resiliency.
Kelsey and her team collaborated with BCFSC members, and together they ensured the adequate delivery of FireSmart programs; aimed at enhancing wildfire preparedness, prevention, and mitigation in communities.
“Leading the incredibly talented and dedicated group that makes up the FireSmart BC team was one of the most rewarding parts of my career. They are caring and passionate about their jobs, and they believe in the difference that they’re making,” noted Kelsey.
As the Chair of the BCFSC, Kelsey collaborated with other BCFSC members to ensure that the committee worked in alignment as one governing organization, coordinating resources for the betterment of British Columbians.
Throughout her career in forestry, Kelsey is most proud to work alongside dedicated foresters who share similar values. She encourages young people to take an interest in the forestry industry, as she believes it is essential to B.C.
“I’d encourage all the women out there, that maybe feel like forestry is a male-dominated industry, to push that aside and pursue a career here if that is where their heart is at. In the 15 years that I’ve been in the forest industry, I have had the immense honour of working with some of the most talented and bright women around,” remarked Kelsey.
Thank you, Kelsey, for contributing to the forestry sector and helping communities across B.C. build wildfire resiliency, one step at a time.