Featured Presenters

US Forest Service Chief – Tony Tooke
Tony Tooke has worked for the Forest Service since he was 18 years old, including many assignments in Region 8 and the Washington Office (WO), most recently as the Regional Forester for the Southern Region of the U.S. Forest Service.  In that role, he was responsible for 3,100 employees, 14 national forests, and two managed areas, which encompass more than 13.3 million acres in 13 states and Puerto Rico.  In his new role as Forest Service Chief, he takes over an agency that oversees 154 national forests and 20 grasslands in 43 states and Puerto Rico.

His previous position in Washington, DC was Associate Deputy Chief for the National Forest System; with oversight of Lands and Realty, Minerals and Geology, Ecosystem Management Coordination, Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers, the National Partnership Office, and Business Administration and Support Services.

Read More

The Fire Season Next Time:  The Need for a Modern Analytical Strategy for Wildfire Management
Dave Calkin, PhD, Supervisory Research Forester, Human Dimensions Program, US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula, Montana 

Dave is the team lead of the Fire Management Science Group of the National Fire Decision Support Center working to improve risk based fire management decision making through improved science development, application, and delivery.   Dave’s research incorporates economics with risk and decision sciences to explore ways to evaluate and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of wildfire management programs.

Dave received a BS in applied math from the University of Virginia, and MS in natural resources conservation from the University of Montana, and his PhD in Economics from Oregon State University.

Google Scholar profile

What Will it Take to Advance Wildland Fire Behavior Science?
Mark Finney, Research Forester, USDA Forest Service, Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory

Mark A. Finney is a Research Forester with the US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory.  He has worked at the Fire Laboratory since 1993 on fire behavior, fire growth modeling and risk analysis, and landscape fuel management.  He leads a fire behavior research team to discover fundamental physical explanations for wildland fire behavior using laboratory and field-scale experiments.  He was responsible for development and transfer of existing fire models to the national internet-based Wildland Fire Decision Support System.  He holds a Ph.D. in wildland fire science from Univ. California at Berkeley (1991), an M.S. in Fire Ecology from University of Washington (1986), and a B.S. in Forestry from Colorado State University (1984).



Postfire Ecology in the Face of Rapid Global Change

Jon E. Keeley, is a Senior ST research scientist with the U.S. Geological Society, adjunct professor at UCLA, research associate of the Santa Ana Botanic Garden, former program director at the National Science Foundation, recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, honorary lifetime member of the California Botanical Society, and Fellow of the Ecological Society of America. He has spent sabbatical leaves in all of the mediterranean-climate regions of the world. Dr. Keeley has over 400 publications in national and international scientific journals and books and has garnered more than 15,000 citations. His research on wildfires includes work on ecological and climate impacts, as well as non-native invasive plants, and fire-stimulated seed germination.  He is senior author of a 2012 Cambridge University Press book Fire in Mediterranean Climate Ecosystems: Ecology, Evolution and Management.



Riva Duncan, Interagency Fire Staff Officer, Umpqua National Forest, Roseburg, OR
Riva began her career on the Allegheny National Forest in northwest Pennsylvania as a trainee forester. After a season on the Asheville Hotshots, Riva realized she needed to leave that asbestos forest and head to blacker pastures, The Apalachicola National Forest in Florida was the place. It was there Riva was able to get unmatched experience in prescribed burning and suppression and where her love of applying fire to the landscape deepened. From Florida she went to the Uinta and Wasatch-Cache National Forests in Utah as the Forest Fuels Specialist to help develop the prescribed fire and fire use programs for both forests. Riva moved to the Klamath National Forest in 2006 as Deputy Forest FMO. She gained valuable operational and management experience through three and a half very challenging fire seasons including the record-breaking 2008 fire season where she in-briefed 14 IMTs including Area Command and NIMO. Riva returned to the south as the Forest FMO for the National Forests in North Carolina in 2009. In January 2017 she started her current position as the Interagency Fire Staff Officer for the West Central Oregon Interagency Fire Zone (Umpqua NF, Coos Bay and Roseburg BLM). Riva has also traveled to Belize and Ethiopia with USFS International Programs to teach prescribed fire planning and implementation.
Riva has a BS in Forest Management from Purdue University. She enjoys running, hiking, reading, traveling, and seeing live music.

Michael Norton, Director General, Northern Forestry Centre, Natural Resources Canada, Edmonton, Alberta

Mike Norton joined Natural Resources Canada in July 2014 as the Director General of the Northern Forestry Centre (NFC), located in Edmonton, Alberta. NFC is a research centre comprising over 100 employees, with particular strengths in wildland fire, forest health, land reclamation, and climate change. Through extensive partnerships with the public, private and academic sectors, NFC supports the sustainable management of forests as a foundation for a vibrant industry. Mike plays a national leadership role related to wildland fire as the co-chair of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers’ Wildland Fire Management Working Group. In 2018 he is also the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center.

Prior to joining NRCan, Mike has been Regional Director, Environmental Services and Contaminated Sites with Public Works and Government Services Canada (2013-2014), and Associate Regional Director General with Environment Canada (2011-2013). He started his federal public service career with Environment Canada in 2000. Mike has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Guelph and a Master of Science from the University of Alberta.  He lives in Edmonton, and is married with two daughters.


Matthew Thompson, Research Forester, RMRS, Fort Collins, CO

Matthew P Thompson is a Research Forester in the Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Human Dimensions Program in Fort Collins, CO. His research interests center around risk, decision, and systems analysis, particularly as applied to wildland fire management. He has a BS in systems engineering from the University of Virginia, a MS in industrial engineering and operations research from the University of California, Berkeley, a MS in forest management from Oregon State University, and a PhD in forest engineering from Oregon State University. In 2016 he received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, where he tried and failed to convince President Obama to face him in the basketball game Horse.

Laura Ward, Lolo National Forest Fire Management Officer
Ward has worked in western Montana for 18 years and is responsible for managing and implementing the fire operations across the five Ranger Districts and approximately two million acres of the Lolo National Forest.

Ward began her Forest Service career in Lowell, Oregon as a GS-1 employee on a Brush Disposal crew on the Willamette National Forest in 1985 and later worked as a firefighter on three Districts on that Forest until 1989. She then worked on the Umpqua National Forest as a fuels technician – her first permanent appointment as a GS-7 — and then with the Wolf Creek Job Corps in a “detailed overhead position” with the Job Corps Hotshot Crew.

She was promoted to the fuels assistant fire management Officer (AFMO) in the mid-nineties and later worked as the Fuels/Suppression AFMO for the Umpqua National Forest. In 1999 she was selected as a District FMO for the Ninemile Ranger District on the Lolo National Forest and she worked on that district for 11 years.  In 2010, Ward was selected as the Lolo National Forest FMO, located at the Forest Supervisor’s Office at Fort Missoula.

Paul Hessburg, Research Landscape Ecologist
Paul is a Research Landscape Ecologist with the USDA Forest Service, PNW Research Station (PNWRS). Paul has worked for the PNWRS, since 1993, researching the landscape and disturbance ecology of western forests. He currently leads a research team to explore climate change effects on forest and nonforest patterns, wildfire resilience mechanisms and their capacity for persistence, fuel succession influences on wildfire behavior, and tool development for multi-scale landscape evaluations. He co-led the Landscape Ecology Assessment of the Interior Columbia Basin from 1993-2000, and led the Landscape-Climate Interactions Team of the PNWRS from 2002-2011. Paul holds a Ph.D. in Botany and Plant Pathology from Oregon State University (1984), and a B.S. in Forestry from the University of Minnesota (1978). In 2017, he received the PNW Station and Deputy Chief’s Distinguished Scientist awards. He lives in Wenatchee, WA, is married with grown kids, and he and his wife Mary have five nearly perfect grandchildren.

Bill Avey, Forest Supervisor, Helena-Lewis and Clark NF

Bill graduated with a degree in Forestry from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point.  He started his Forest Service career on the Big Horn NF of Wyoming in 1981 as a forestry technician, working primarily in fire, range and timber management.  In 1988, he moved to the Manti-LaSal NF in Utah where he worked as an assistant fire management officer.  He then went onto the Wisdom and the Madison Ranger Districts of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest where he worked in recreation, trails, timber, wilderness management, minerals, lands and special uses first as a forester and then as a district resource assistant.   From 2000-2010, he was the District Ranger for the Big Timber RD (and ultimately for the Livingston RD as well), of the Gallatin National Forest.  During that time he did several stints as Acting Deputy Forest Supervisor or Acting Forest Supervisor in the Northern and Southwest Regions.   He has advanced Agency Administrator fire qualifications and has served as Agency Administrator on multiple large and complex fires.   In 2006 he was awarded the National Line Officer Team Award for Fire Leadership.  He became Deputy Director of Fire, Aviation and Air for the Northern Region in 2010. In February, 2012 he was appointed as the Forest Supervisor of the Lewis and Clark National Forest, and in January 2014 he was appointed the Forest Supervisor of both the Helena and the Lewis and Clark National Forests (now the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest).