Jean-Charles Valette was a Forestry Engineer. He was recruited in 1973 by the INRA research centre of Avignon. He led his entire career on the theme of Forest Fire Prevention and over time he became one of the most renowned international scientific leaders in the field. After three years spent in the experimental unit of Bormes les Mimosas, he joined the forest research unit in Avignon where he developed his research and development activities as the leader of the fire prevention team. His specific contribution to the scientific investigation of wildfires focused on fuel flammability, fire behaviour and fire ecology.
By the end of the 1990s, Jean-Charles Valette had structured the French research in the field of fire sciences, at the request of the French Ministry of Agriculture, through the coordination of a group of French research organizations involved in wildfire science. He also gradually became a European leader in his field by coordinating EU-funded projects of increasing size and ambition: EFAISTOS, FIRESTAR, and above all EUFIRELAB gathering a number of European research teams.
In the early 2000s he found support for and promoted a scientific partnership on wildfire behaviour modelling between the INRA and the Los Alamos National Laboratory that is still active. He had recently coordinated a working group of the FORESTERRA international Mediterranean forest research and development network for which he organized a workshop on 12 and 13 December 2013.
Jean-Charles Valette has devoted uncommon energy to build and drive many research networks and projects. He was committed particularly in the transfer of knowledge to users: public and private managers of natural and forest areas, forecast and forest fire prediction services, fire control services, regional councils. He was a hard worker, sometimes working day and night to achieve all the objectives he set himself. The acknowledgment of the INRA through the “Lauriers de l’INRA” has crowned his career.