Media Tip Sheet: Wildfire experts at Colorado State University available to discuss current issues, topics

Note to Reporters: As the nation’s wildfire season continues, Colorado State is providing the following list of wildfire experts who can address a variety of information about wildfires and forestry. The tip sheet is intended to provide resources to the media but not contact information for the public.


Wildfire risk reduction, forest ecology, and forest restoration
Dan Binkley, professor of forest ecology at Warner College of Natural Resources, is available to talk about ways to reduce risks of catastrophic wildfires and improve the health of forests. To speak with Binkley, contact Jennifer Dimas at or (970) 491-1543.

Ecological recovery after wildfire
Linda Nagel, forestry professor and Head of the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship at CSU, is available to discuss the ecological recovery of plant communities following a wildfire event. To speak with Nagel, contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or

Fire behavior and effects
Chad Hoffman, assistant professor fire science at CSU, is available to discuss fire behavior and modeling, fuels management and wildfire hazard and risk reduction, disturbance ecology, fire and bark beetle interactions, fire and forest pathogen interactions. To speak with Hoffman, contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or

Fire management policy
Bill Romme, fire ecology professor emeritus, can discuss fire management policies, the effects of fires on organisms, populations, communities and ecosystems as well as the ecological role of fire in various major vegetation types of North America. He can also talk about the effects of fires in Yellowstone National Park on nitrogen and carbon cycling and re-growth of lodgepole pine forests. To speak with Romme, contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or

Wildfire economics
Douglas Rideout, CSU wildfire economist and director of the WESTFIRE Research Center, can discuss the economics and management of wild and prescribed fires, the wildland-urban interface, strategic analysis and budgeting of fire programs, fuel management and initial attack systems. The center has played a central role in the construction and implementation of the new Fire Program Analysis system that is being implemented nationally to support fire program planning. To speak with Rideout, contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or

Protecting your pets
The effects of smoke on pets are similar to the effects that humans experience, including dry, watery or red eyes and increased respiratory efforts (panting, wheezing), says Rebecca Ruch Gallie, assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Pets with heart and respiratory issues should be kept indoors with limited exercise. For pets on medications for heart or respiratory issues, owners should contact their veterinarians to discuss whether or not medication doses need to be adjusted. In addition, Ragan Adams, a Veterinary Extension Specialist and senior research associate in the Department of Clinical Sciences, is available to discuss animal disaster response planning on personal and community levels. To speak with Ruch Gallie or Adams, contact Jeff Dodge at or (970) 491-4251.

Health effects of wildfire smoke
John Volckens of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Sheryl Magzamen of the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences can talk about the potential health effects of wood smoke. To speak Volckens or Magzamen, contact Jeff Dodge at (970) 491-4251 or

Fire fuels versus climate/weather in occurrences of large wildfires
Jason Sibold, an associate professor of geography with a focus on forest fire and bark beetle influences and interaction in Rocky Mountain forests, can address 1) the relative importance of fuels and bark-beetle altered fuels versus climate/weather in the occurrence of large wildfires and extreme fire years, 2) natural fire regimes (fire frequency, severity and extent) and how recent fires compare to natural fires, 3) fire-climate interactions including the influence of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean basins on climate and fire occurrence in the Rockies, and 4) what the climate of the next decades likely means for wildfire risk in the Rockies. His research shows that we have recently moved into a scenario that means we should expect fires like the High Park fire and large fire years will be more likely in the coming decades. Through his work with tree rings as well as modern fire records, Sibold can provide a broad focus of fire events over the last few hundred years as well as a more fine-scale focus on fires over the last few decades. To speak with Sibold, contact Jeff Dodge at or (970) 491-4251.

Health of Colorado forests
Tony Cheng, director of the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute, can talk about ways to reduce risks of catastrophic wildfires to homes and communities and improve the health of Colorado’s forests. The Colorado Forest Restoration Institute was established by Congress to work with state and federal partners and communities to actively restore forest landscape health and reduce the risk of severe wildfires. Cheng can also talk about community wildfire protection planning, public participation in forest management, planning sustainable wildfire mitigation and forest restoration plans. To speak with Cheng, contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or

Snowmelt, run-off and streamflow
Steven Fassnacht, associate professor of snow hydrology in CSU’s Watershed Science Program, can discuss ongoing analyses of mountain snow characteristics across various portions of the Colorado River basin. To speak with Fassnacht, contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or