Fire Ecology and Management
The First of its Kind
With one of the most diverse and experienced faculty in the country, our B.S. in Fire Ecology and Management was the first major of its kind in the nation. With an emphasis on direct and “hands-on” learning, our program will provide you with an understanding of fire’s holistic role in the environment and help you develop the understanding and skills to solve complex problems involved in the management of natural resources.
Prepare for the Future
Accredited by the Association for Fire Ecology, we offer more courses focused on fire than any other natural resources school in the country, and we have a variety of facilities that will prepare you to be a leader in the fire ecology and management field. Our students benefit from access to the nearby UI Experimental Forest, where they actively participate in prescribed burning classes and explore active fire management in a real-world setting. Service-learning field trips organized by The Nature Conservancy, Tribal Nations, and regional land management agencies are open to qualified students, and undergraduate courses have access to the Idaho Fire Institute of Research and Education (IFIRE) – the only university-housed wildfire combustion laboratory in the United States.
Many of our students actively participate in our Student Association for Fire Ecology (SAFE) club, which works with students to achieve fire experiences and connects students with existing wildland fire crews. Additionally, as a leader in the training of fire science professionals, we have an extensive alumni network across the United States that are leaders in fire science and management.
What Will You Learn?
Below are some of the courses Fire Ecology and Management majors take which sets the University of Idaho apart from any other fire program in the nation.
- REM 144 - Wildland Fire Management
Introduction to wildland fire management including fire behavior, fuels, fire prevention and suppression, fire policy and fire ecology. Includes discussion of current fire management issues.
- FOR 326 – Fire Ecology and Management
The study of wildfire as a biophysical and ecological process, including controls of wildfires, ecological effects of wildfires, fire history, and fire in the context of global environmental change. Current issues in fire management in the Western US and globally, including readings and discussions of recent scientific literature. One-day field trip with data collection and formal lab write up. (Fall only).
Prereq: For 221 or REM 221
- FOR 433 – Fire and Fuel Modeling
Learn to use and critically evaluate spatial fire behavior prediction systems, with attention to assumptions, uncertainty, sensitivity, and probability analysis. Topics include fuels classification systems, scale considerations, thematic mapping, and GIS overlay analysis, and how to access on-line geospatial data and decision-support tools. Read and discuss primarily literature on quantitative spatial analysis in fire science, engage in hands-on laboratory exercises, and prepare written reports comparing management alternatives with regards to fire behavior, fire effects, and ecological departure.
Prereq: For 375, Geog 385, or Permission
Coreq: For 450
- FOR 450 – Fire Behavior
Understand the physical and chemical processes controlling combustion and fire behavior. Gain in-depth knowledge of commonly-used, point-scale fire behavior models and tools, including key assumptions and limitations. Critically review and discuss scientific literature, current topics, and case studies. Lab sessions include designing and undertaking small-scale fire behavior experiments, developing simple quantitative models, and a field trip.
Prereq: For 326; and Phys 100/100L or Phys 111/111L
Coreq: For 433
- FOR 427 – Prescribed Burn Lab
Planning, conducting and evaluating prescribed burns designed to accomplish natural resource management objectives. Sampling, models and analysis used in writing required fire use plan. 5 days of field trips; some on Saturdays. (Fall only).
Prereq: REM 144, and Senior standing; and Permission
Prereq or Coreq: For 326
- REM 407 – GIS Application in Fire Ecology and Management
Introduces applications of GIS in fire ecology, research, and management including incident mapping, fire progression mapping, GIS overlay analysis, remote sensing fire severity assessments, fire atlas analysis and the role of GIS in the Fire Regime Condition Class concept and the National Fire Plan. Additional assignment/projects required for graduate credit. (Spring only).
Prereq: For 375 or Geog 385; or Permission
- FOR 435 – Remote Sensing of Fire
The course describes the state of the art algorithms and methods used for mapping and characterizing fire from satellite observations. The course will link the physical aspects of fire on the ground with the quantities that can be observed from remote sensing, and present an overview of the different aspects of environmental fire monitoring. The course will be accompanied by weekly lab sessions focused on the processing of satellite data from sensors used operationally for fire monitoring. This course assumes that you are familiar with the fundamental concepts of mathematics and physics, understand basic remote sensing techniques, and can use maps and GIS data layers. For graduate credit, additional literature review and a class project including evaluation of new, advanced technologies is required. (Spring).
Prereq: For 375 or Permission
- REM 429 – Landscape Ecology
Ecological relationships and conservation issues for biotic communities across the landscape, including spatial and temporal dynamics and patterns, and importance of landscapes in maintenance of ecosystem diversity and function. One or more field trips; one 2-3 hour lab period per week. Recommended Preparation: Familiarity with spreadsheet programs and problem solving using computers. (Spring only).
Prereq: For 221 or REM 221
- GEOG 301 – Meterology
Atmospheric processes that produce weather; temperature; moisture, clouds, and precipitation; synoptic-scale weather; severe storms; weather instrumentation, weather maps, and forecasting; influences of weather on humans and impacts of humans on weather. (Fall only).
Prereq: Math 143 or equivalent
- GEOG 313 – Global Climate Change
Scientific basis of the climate system and global climate changes; process-based understanding of past, present and future climate change; natural and anthropogenic influences; interactions between climate, society and ecosystems; scientific review and politicization; climate change solutions and opportunities. Students in 513 will be required to solve additional quantitative problem sets and synthesize journal articles. (Fall only).
- FOR 454 – Air Quality, Pollution, and Smoke
Assessment of the controls and drivers of emission processes and impacts on air quality from fires, industry, and other natural sources. Overview of the combustion and emission process, how these emissions impact the quality of air, and what models exist to monitor the emission. Other topics to include: recent EPA and other guidelines for smoke management planning, attainment issues, atmospheric transport and deposition processes.