Experts available to speak on the impacts of Kelowna and Yellowknife wildfires on health, climate and disaster response and mitigation

CJ56 via Wikimedia Commons

Devastating wildfires continue to impact Yellowknife, N.W.T. and Kelowna, B.C., resulting in evacuations for multiple communities. Western University has the following experts available for comment on the health effects of wildfire smoke, climate change and wildfires, and disaster response and mitigation:

Health effects of wildfire smoke

Dr. Anna Gunz
Associate Professor, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
Areas of expertise: Health effects of wildfire smoke, health monitoring of climate change, climate change as a health crisis.

Nicole Redvers*
Associate Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry; Western Research Chair and Director of Indigenous Planetary Health
Areas of expertise: Indigenous health, planetary health, impact of forest fires in Indigenous communities.
*Available Monday, August 21, 2023 onwards.

Trauma and mental health effects of wildfires and evacuations

Marnie Wedlake
Assistant Professor, School of Health Studies; registered psychotherapist
Areas of expertise: Trauma from natural disasters, resilience and the creation of wellbeing, mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Climate change and wildfires

Gordon McBean
Professor Emeritus, Department of Geography and Environment
Areas of expertise: Climate change and wildfires, climate change science and policy, natural hazards-prediction and mitigation, weather and environmental prediction systems.

Disaster response and mitigation

Paul Kovacs*
Executive Director, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction
Areas of expertise: Wildfire-resilient construction, disaster safety and economic policy, disaster resilience and adaptation.
*Available Monday, August 21, 2023 onwards.


For Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry: Prabhjot Sohal, Media Relations Officer, 519.857.4993 (mobile),

For all other departments: Cynthia Yi, Media Relations Coordinator, Western University, 226.376.4924 (mobile),