Thursday, March 11, 2010

Challenges to Educating the Next Generation of Wildland Fire Professionals in the United States

The Journal of Forestry, October/November 2009, featured an article titled "Challenges to Educating the Next Generation of Wildland Fire Professionals in the United States" written by Leda N. Kobziar, Monique E. Rocca, Christopher A. Dicus, Chad Hoffman, Neil Sugihara, Andrea E. Thode, J. Morgan Varner, and Penelope Morgan.

Abstract: Over the last 20 years, the duties of US fire professionals have become more complex and risk laden because of fuel load accumulation, climate change, and the increasing wildland–urban interface. Incorporation of fire use and ecological principles into fire management policies has further expanded the range of expertise and knowledge required of fire professionals. The educational and training systems that produce these professionals, however, have been slow to organize an updated and coordinated approach to preparing future practitioners. Consequently, aspiring fire professionals face numerous challenges related to scheduling conflicts, limited higher education programs in fire science, lack of coordination between fire training and higher education entities, and the overall difficulty of obtaining education and training without sacrificing experience. Here, we address these and other challenges with potential solutions and outline the first steps toward their implementation. We organize the necessary aspects of professional fire preparation into a representative model: a fire professional development triangle comprised of education, training, and experience. For each of these aspects, we suggest changes that can be made by employers, educators, and nongovernmental organizations to provide a more streamlined mechanism for preparing the next generation of wildland fire professionals in the United States.

Wildland fire leaders are encouraged to read the complete article which is available for download at:

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Dr. Kobziar recently lectured at UC Berkeley- it is an interesting question and one worth pursuing. Personally, part of the reason I'm in graduate school is that as a wildland firefighter, the resources for learning more about my field and fire science were not easily accessible. I am concerned that practitioners aren't getting as well rounded in the theory, and vice versa.

I posted a blog entry about this several days ago: