Plenary Presenters

Opening Plenary: A 20 Year Reflection on Fire Ecology and Management

Nate Benson


Nate Benson has worked for the National Park Service (NPS) for over thirty years in a variety of positions. He started his NPS fire career as a fire effects monitor at Glacier National Park, and then moved to Yellowstone and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks ...
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Neil Sugihara

Program Coordinator at Wildland Fire Education and Training Collaborative

Neil Sugihara was one of the founding members of the California Association for Fire Ecology (CAFE), the first president of AFE, and served as the chair for the first and fifth fire congresses. He has taught fire ecology courses for over 20 years with the ...
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Reed Noss

Provost’s Distinguished Research Professor, Pegasus Professor, and Davis-Shine Professor of Conservation Biology at University of Central Florida

Reed Noss is a free-lance writer, photographer, lecturer, and consultant in ecology and conservation. He retired in spring 2017 as Provost’s Distinguished Research Professor of Biology at the University of Central Florida and is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Nicholas School of the Environment, ...
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Jan van Wagtendonk

Research Forester Emeritus at National Park Service, Yosemite NP, California

Dr. van Wagtendonk grew up in Indiana, where he began his study of forestry at Purdue University. Summer seasonal work as a smokejumper for the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management convinced him to finish his undergraduate work at Oregon State University, where ...
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Steve Pyne

Regents Professor at School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University

Stephen Pyne is Regents Professor in the School of Life Sciences, at Arizona State University, and the author of over 30 books, among them fire histories of the U.S., Australia, Canada, Europe (including Russia), and the Earth. Most recently he has published Between Two Fires: ...
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Closing Plenary: A Look into the Future of Fire Ecology and Management

David Bengston

Research Forester, Social Scientist at Strategic Foresight Group, U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station

David Bengston is a Social Scientist and Environmental Futurist with the US Forest Service, Northern Research Station, in St. Paul, Minnesota and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Forest Resources and the Conservation Sciences Graduate Program at the University of Minnesota. He works in ...
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Marc Castellnou

Department of Crop & Forest Science University of Lleida, Spain at Department of Crop & Forest Science University of Lleida, Spain

Marc Castellnou has served as Incident Commander, Hotshot Units Chief and Strategic Wildfire Analyst for the Government of Catalonia Fire Services since 1999, and as Director of their Prescribed Burning program since 2001. Marc is also Professor at the University of Lleida in Spain and ...
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J. Kevin Hiers

Wildland Fire Scientist at Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy

J. Kevin Hiers is a Wildland Fire Scientist at Tall Timbers Research Station where he leads research projects in fire behavior, fire management, fuel moisture, and the fluid dynamics of fire effects. He has worked at the interface of science and management for 24 years ...
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Leda Kobziar

Director, Master Of Natural Resources Program at University of Idaho

Dr. Leda Kobziar has served on the AFE Board of Directors since 2009, and is currently serving as the President of the Association. She earned her PhD in Ecosystem Science in 2006 at the University of California at Berkeley. After nine years at the University ...
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Fire AFEx Talks

Sarah Mccaffrey

Research Forester at USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station

Sarah M McCaffrey Ph.D. is a Research Forester for the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Her research focuses on the social aspects of fire management. This work has included projects examining wildfire risk perception, social acceptability of fuels treatments, and factors influencing homeowner ...
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Johnny Stowe


Johnny Stowe is a wildlife biologist who has managed the South Carolina Department of Natural Resource’s heritage preserves with prescribed fire for 21 years. His passion for fire-lighting began when he was a little boy. Through the SC Prescribed Fire Council and the International Association ...
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Scott Stephens

Professor of Fire Science at University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Scott Stephens is Professor of Fire Science, University of California, Berkeley. Scott has given invited testimony to the US House of Representatives on three occasions, was a senior Fulbright Fellow in Australia, has given invited testimony six times to the California Legislature, and recently ...
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Claire Belcher

Professor (Personal Chair) of Earth System Science and Director of the wildFIRE Lab at wildFIRE Lab, University of Exeter

Claire Belcher is Professor of Earth-System Science and Director of the wildFIRE Lab at The University of Exeter, Claire gained her PhD in 2005 studying linkages between asteroid impacts and wildfires. She has since become known internationally for her endeavors that cross wildfire disciplines ...
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Steve Miller


Steve “Torch” Miller is Chief, Land resources Bureau, St Johns River Water Management District, Florida. Steve earned a BS in Forest Administration from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and an MS in Ecological Restoration from the University of Florida. He worked previously for a ...
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Mike Stambaugh

Associate Research Professor at University of Missouri

Michael Stambaugh is Associate Research Professor in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Missouri. Michael is the Director of the Missouri Tree-Ring Laboratory which conducts fire history research throughout the eastern U.S. He received his PhD, MS and BS degrees from University ...
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Timothy Ingalsbee

Executive Director at Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology (FUSEE)

Timothy Ingalsbee is Executive Director, Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology (FUSEE) and has founded and directed three nonprofit organizations devoted to public education and policy advocacy of fire ecology and fire management. He is a certified senior wildland fire ecologist who was named ...
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Morgan Varner

USFS Seattle Fire Lab

Dr. Morgan Varner is a Research Scientist and Team Leader at the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab in Seattle, WA. His research and passion are focused on understanding and overcoming the impediments to the application of prescribed fire. He received PhD, MS ...
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Henri Grissino-Mayer

Full Professor of Geography at University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Henri D. Grissino-Mayer is a James R. Cox Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Director of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Science. He studies ecosystem disturbance processes and uses dendrochronology, the science of tree rings, to learn how environments ...
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Penny Morgan

Professor at University of Idaho

Penny Morgan is Professor in the Department of Forest, Rangeland, and Fire Sciences at the University of Idaho. There she teaches Fire Ecology & Management, Fire Ecology, Prescribed Burning, and Science Synthesis and Communication. Penny’s research focuses on fires, especially how, why, when and where ...
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