Featured Presenters


Vicki Christiansen, Interim Chief, US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
Vicki Christiansen is the interim Chief at the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service in Washington, DC. Prior to that she was Deputy Chief for State and Private Forestry where she had oversight of Fire and Aviation Management, Tribal Relations, Forest Health Protection, Cooperative Forestry and Conservation Education. She joined the Forest Service in 2010 as the Deputy Director of Fire and Aviation Management. Vicki has worked extensively on the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy bringing her experience as a line officer, land manager, wildland fire fighter and State Forester to the effort. Prior to joining the Forest Service she served as the Arizona State Forester and Director of the Arizona Division of Forestry. She was responsible for the protection of 22 million acres of state and private lands in Arizona, including wildland fire management. As State Forester, Vicki represented Arizona at the national and state level on forest health and wildland fire issues. She was Chair of the Wildland Fire Committee for the National Association of State Foresters. Vicki also served as the Washington State Forester where she had a 26 year career with Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). She started as a wildland fire fighter while still in college and held many different positions at Washington DNR with a strong emphasis in operations, managing state trust lands and regulating forest practices on state and private lands in Washington State. Her first permanent position was as a forester responsible for the reforestation of state trust lands in the Mt. Saint Helens blast zone. Vicki has been a wildland fire fighter and fire manager for 36 years. She has numerous credentials in the wildland fire program with a special expertise as a fire line-blasting advisor. Vicki has a B.S. in Forest Management from the University of Washington (1983, cum laude). She is married to a Fire Chief (retired) and has two grown sons.

pʼəʕáp (Fire) Past, Present, Future
Mr. Tony Incashola, Sr., Tribal Elder
Tony Incashola was born in St.Ignatius and raised by his parental grandparents, who taught him the Salish as his first language.He was educated in the St.Ignatius schools and in the traditional Upper Kalispel ways by his Grandparents. He served in the U.S. Army, including a tour of duty in Viet Nam, from 1965 to 1967, when he received his honorable discharge.In 1990, Mr. Incashola was elected to the Tribal Council, where he served 4 years. Since 1975 he has worked with the Salish/Pend d’Oreille Culture Committee of the Confederated Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai Tribes, first as Assistant Director, and since 1995 as Director.The Committee’s broad mission is to protect, perpetuate and promote the language and traditional way of life of the Salish, Upper Kalispel (Pend d’Oreille) People.

AFE Inclusivity and Women no annimation_final (Sara Brown’s PPT Presentation)
Link to the longer version of her presentation.
Sara Brown, Acting Director, USDS Forest Service, RMRS, RD&A and Human Performance & Innovations and Organizational Learning
Sara Brown is a classically trained ecologist, with an emphasis in fire ecology. She currently works for the USDA Forest Service in the Rocky Mountain Research Station as acting director of two research, development and application units called Human Performance and Innovation and Organizational Learning.  Previous to her work in the research station, she spent four years as a professor of fire science at New Mexico Highlands University.  She earned her Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Wyoming, a Masters of Science in environmental science and regional planning from Washington State University, and a BS in environmental science from Willamette University.

Diego R. Pérez-Salicrup, Universidad Nacional Autonoma De Mexico
Diego Pérez-Salicrup completed his degree in Biology at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and then his MSc and PhD at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Forest of Harvard University. Since 2000 he works at the National Autonomous University of México, where he heads the laboratory of Ecology of Forest Management in the Institute for Ecosystem Research and Sustainability.  His publications show a broad range of research interests with a particular focus on tropical plant ecology, forest management, ecological restoration, and lately, fire ecology. He has been council member for the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Associate Editor for the Journal Biotropica, treasurer of the Botanical Society of Mexico, and was recently appointed to the Association for Fire Ecology Board. He coordinates the Mexican Network of Fire Research.

Keynote Presentation – Monday
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

Keynote Presentation – Tuesday
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).

Keynote Presentation – Thursday
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.

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.

Tim Sexton, Program Manager, Wildland Fire Research Development & Applications Program

Tim is currently the Program Manager for the Wildland Fire Research Development & Applications Program. His responsibilities include management of the Wildland Fire Decision Support System as well as facilitating technology transfer of new science associated with wildland fire to the field. He is one of three National Area Commanders having previously served as a Type I Incident Commander on Great Basin IMT 1 and as a Type II IC on Rocky Mountain IMT #2. Tim has a BA in History from Boise State University and a MS from Oregon State University with an emphasis in Fire Ecology. Tim started his career as an engine and fuels crewmember on the Shasta-Trinity NF at Weaverville Ranger District.

His work experience includes:
– Suppression and fuels on the Gifford Pinchot and Umpqua National Forests
– Hotshot Superintendent at Redmond, Oregon (Deschutes NF)
– District FMO on the Winema NF
– Fire Management Specialist for the Intermountain Region of the National Park Service
– National Fire Ecologist for the National Park Service
– Fire Use Program Manager for the US Forest Service
– District Ranger, LaCroix RD, Superior NF


Erin Noonan-Wright, Fire Application Specialist, Wildland Fire Management Research Development and Application Group (WFMRD&A)
Erin Noonan-Wright works as a fire application specialist for the Wildland Fire Management Research Development and Application Group (WFMRD&A), supporting wildland fire incidents for land management agencies in the United States. Most of her career has been spent working with land and fire managers planning fuel treatments and managing wildland fires that are long-term events. Her focus has been applying 1- and 2-D fire behavior models to predict fire effects when changing fuel loads or predicting fire spread during wildland fires as a qualified Long-term Analyst (LTAN). She has an extensive back ground in geospatial analysis and is on the steering committee for the national-level class taught in the United States that teaches spatial fire analysis, ‘S-495 Geospatial Fire Analysis, Interpretation and Application’. She is in her 5th semester with the Fire Center, College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana, pursuing a PH.D on fire management decision making on wildland fires.

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.

Rodman Linn, Senior Scientist, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Dr. Rodman Linn began his career in the field of theoretical turbulence modeling in Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Theoretical Fluid Dynamics group in 1990 working with Dr. Francis Harlow.  This work provided the foundations for Dr. Linn’s research in the area of forest fire modeling, which began in 1995.  Since then, one of his focus areas has been coupled fire/atmosphere behavior.  For over two decades he has served as principal investigator for a process-based coupled fire/atmosphere model, FIRETEC, which formed the basis for his PhD dissertation in 1997. Dr. Linn continues to use next-generation process-based wildfire models for the study of fundamental wildfire behavior, evaluation of prescribed fire tactics, understanding influences of complex environmental conditions on fire behavior, risk assessment for critical facilities and wildfire’s interaction with other landscape disturbances such as insects or drought.  Dr. Linn continues to work with a wide group of collaborators in the US and international scientists and practitioners.  Dr. Linn was deputy group leader for the Atmospheric, Climate and Environmental Dynamics group for three years, the team leader for the Atmospheric Modeling and Weapon Phenomenology team at LANL for 16 years, and is currently a senior scientist at LANL. In addition to his wildfire behavior research, he has led research areas of urban fires, wind energy, dispersion and canopy/atmosphere interaction. Dr. Linn served on the International Advisory Committee for the European Union-funded FIRESTAR and Fire Paradox Projects, the latter of which focused on the role of low-intensity fires in reducing the risk of catastrophic fires as well as the use of fire to manage fire. Dr. Linn teaches engineering courses in mechanics, heat transfer and fluid dynamics at the University of New Mexico Los Alamos Branch.  Dr. Linn was the chair of the UNM-LA Engineering Advisory Panel 2015-2017 and a member of the New Mexico State University Mechanical Engineering Academy since 2005 (board of directors, 2005-2013, and chair of their Industrial advisory committee, 2008-2015.) Dr. Linn was an Associate Director for the California Institute of Hazards Research, 2007-2011.  Dr. Linn serves on the LANL institutional Computing Advisory Board since 2011.


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.

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).