OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Oregon State University wildfire experts

09/06/2017

MEDIA ADVISORY

The following Oregon State University faculty members have expertise related to wildfire issues and are willing to speak with journalists. Their specific expertise, and contact information, is listed below. For help with other OSU faculty experts, contact Sean Nealon, 541-737-0787, sean.nealon@oregonstate.edu.

Oregon State University wildfire experts

John Bailey, 541-737-1497, john.bailey@oregonstate.edu

Bailey studies the role of forest management in accomplishing landowner objectives, including fire resilience, habitat and restoration. His areas of expertise include:

  • Fuels management for fire risk reduction
  • Wildland fire ecology
  • Prescribed fire

Beverly Law, 541-737-6111, bev.law@oregonstate.edu

Law is a professor of global change biology & terrestrial systems science in the OSU Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society. Her research is on drought-related mortality in forests, and the interactive effects of fire, climate, and management on forest carbon and water processes at the ecosystem, state and regional scales. She can comment on:

  • The role of forests in climate change mitigation, including carbon sequestration
  • Carbon emissions from fires, thinning, and bioenergy
  • Drought tolerance of different species
  • Vulnerability of forests to mortality; resilience, and sustainability of forests in the future 

Meg Krawchuk, 541-737-1483, meg.krawchuk@oregonstate.edu

Krawchuk studies fire ecology and fire patterns using data from satellites, maps, management and field collections to understand drivers of where fires occur, the fingerprints they leave behind and the ecological outcomes of burning. She can discuss:

  • How and why historical and modern fire patterns vary across environmental gradients and in different geographies
  • Ecological and social wins and losses associated with fire
  • Fire as an ecosystem process, pros and cons of fire for conservation of biodiversity

Nicole Strong, 541-829-1270, nicole.strong@oregonstate.edu

As an assistant professor in the OSU Extension Service, Strong works with landowners, communities and agencies to manage natural resources, including fire-prone forests. She can discuss:

  • Steps homeowners can take to minimize fire risks on their properties
  • The impact of prescribed burning and thinning as strategies for reducing fire severity
  • Fire’s historic role in our dry forests, forest ecology and what is causing us to experience larger and hotter wildfires

Perry Hystad, 541-737-4829, perry.hystad@oregonstate.edu

Hystad is an environmental epidemiologist who studies the health effects associated with exposure to air pollution, including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and cancer. He’s currently leading a global study of cardiopulmonary health impacts from outdoor and household air pollution. His areas of expertise include:

  • Health impacts of air pollution from wildfire smoke
  • Differences between smoke and other types of pollution
  • Ways to lessen health impacts of wildfire smoke

Amy Jo Detweiler, 541-548-6088, amyjo.detweiler@oregonstate.edu

Detweiler is a faculty member in the OSU Extension Service and a co-author of a publication, “Fire-Resistant Plants for Home Landscapes.” She can discuss the following topics:

  • Types of shrubs and trees that are less likely to burn
  • Maintenance tips for fire-resistant plantings
  • Fuel reduction around homes

Kathie Dello, 541-737-8927, kdello@coas.oregonstate.edu

Dello is the deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service and associate director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute. She studies Pacific Northwest weather patterns and compiles reports for use by businesses and government agencies. She can comment on weather patterns as they influence fire risk, including:

  • Long-term trends in Pacific Northwest weather
  • The impact of landscape features (mountains, forests) on weather
  • Weather data collection by citizens

Lisa Ellsworth, 541-737-1959, lisa.ellsworth@oregonstate.edu

Oregon’s largest wildfires have occurred not in forests but in rangelands where wind-driven grass fires can spread with devastating speed. Lisa Ellsworth, assistant professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, studies the long-term consequences of fire, invasive plants and other factors in forests and the sagebrush country of central and eastern Oregon. She can discuss:

  • How rangeland ecosystems respond to fire
  • The role of fire in creating the habitat and vegetation of western forests and rangelands
  • How invasive plants such as cheat grass and change the rangeland fire regime 

David Blunck, 541-737-7095, david.blunck@oregonstate.edu

Embers are wildfire’s emissaries. By understanding how embers form and travel through the air, scientists can more accurately predict how fire will spread. Blunck, an assistant professor in the College of Engineering is studying the process of ember formation in wind tunnel experiments. He can discuss:

  • How moisture and wood species affect the development of embers
  • How far embers can travel and set spot fires
  • The physics of ember transport

Jeff Hatten, 541-737-8720, jeff.hatten@oregonstate.edu 

Hatten, an associate professor of forest soils, studies the impact of prescribed and wild land fire on soils, soil organic matter, forest nutrition, and the erosion of soil carbon from burned watersheds. He can comment on:

  • Fire effects on soil nutrients, moisture and temperature
  • Role of fire in soil organic matter stabilization and destabilization 
  • Response of tree productivity to fire
  • Role of fire in eroding and transporting carbon from watershed

Kevin Bladon, 541-737-5482, bladonk@oregonstate.edu

Bladon, an assistant professor in the OSU College of Forestry, studies the impacts of wildfire and post-fire land management on forest hydrology, water quality and aquatic ecosystem health. His areas of expertise include:

  • Effects of fire on streamflow
  • Effects of fire on water quality, including stream temperature, sediment and nutrients
  • Wildfire threats to community drinking water supply

Daniel Leavell, 541-883-7131 x8504, daniel.leavell@oregonstate.edu

Leavell is a forest agent stationed in Klamath Falls who holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Forest Engineering, Resources, and Management at Oregon State University. He can address media questions related to these topics:

  • Fire science
  • Fire ecology
  • Fire management
  • Fire prevention

Rachel Houtman, 541-737-4294, rachel.houtman@oregonstate.edu

Houtman is a research assistant in the Department of Forest Engineering, Resources, and Management at OSU studying the long-term implications of forest management actions and wildfire at the level of landscapes. She can comment on:

  • How actions today may shape our landscapes tomorrow, leading to resilient landscapes
  • The effect of fuel treatments and harvests on wildfire
  • Trade-offs between fire suppression costs and losses from fire

Generic OSU

About Oregon State University:  As one of only two universities in the nation designated as a land, sea, space and sun grant, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 31,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis, Bend and Newport, and through our award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.