The Wildfire Research (WiRē) Team brings diverse expertise in economics, sociology, and wildfire risk mitigation to a multiyear research project on homeowner wildfire risk mitigation and community wildfire adaptedness.
Chris Barth is a fire mitigation specialist with the Bureau of Land Management. Chris has worked in fire management since 1992 for volunteer, municipal, county and federal agencies. He has worked with the public and stakeholders to promote fire education and mitigation strategies, and has led several regional wildfire collaborations. Chris is a subject matter expert for the WiRē Team with an interest in homeowners’ attitudes towards wildfire mitigation and public perception of wildfire risk. Chris has extensive experience in crisis communication and public affairs/public relations. He works with the public, elected officials, and the media to communicate fire management strategies and disaster response, planning, and mitigation activities. Chris holds Bachelor’s Degrees in both Biology and Environmental Conservation from the University of Colorado, as well as a Master’s Degree in Environmental Education from the University of Montana. His background spans wildfire to wildlife and has taken him throughout the American West and into East Africa. More on Chris’s research can be found here.
Hannah Brenkert-Smith is an environmental sociologist whose work examines social/environmental interactions in the face of environmental change, particularly in the American West. In the past ten years, Brenkert-Smith’s work has focused primarily on household and community response to wildfire risk. In particular, this work has focused on risk mitigation decision-making and forest and wildfire hazard planning related to informal social interactions and sense of place. Her recent field work has two main areas of inquiry: seeking to understand social relationships shaping trust and coordination during extreme events and assessing long-term change on social and biophysical aspects of forest communities affected by major wildfire events. Hannah earned her BA in women’s studies from University of Colorado, her MA in women’s studies from San Francisco State University, and her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. More on Hannah’s research can be found here.
Patty Champ is an economist in the Human Dimensions Program at the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) in Fort Collins, CO. She has been with RMRS since 1994. Patty’s research focuses on three aspects of wildfire: wildland-urban interface (WUI) homeowners’ risk mitigating behaviors, the economic costs of exposure to wildfire smoke, and the effects of wildfire risk on home sales prices. In addition to wildfire, one of Patty’s other research interests is in nonmarket valuation. Patty is also lead editor of A Primer on Nonmarket Valuation. Patty has undergraduates degrees in Economics and International Relations, a Master’s Degree in Economics, and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Agriculture and Applied Economics. More on Patty’s research can be found here.
Lilia Falk is the Director of the West Region Wildfire Council (WRWC), a collaborative, interagency organization that works to promote wildfire preparedness, prevention, and mitigation education across six Colorado counties. Lilia has worked for the WRWC since 2011, focusing her efforts on furthering the organization’s homeowner wildfire education program, developing fuel reduction cost share incentive programs, and effectively developing and implementing wildfire planning initiatives. Prior to working with the WRWC, Lilia worked in emergency management for the Westminster Fire Department. Lilia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography with an emphasis in natural hazards from the University of Colorado Boulder. More on Lilia’s work can be found here.
Pam Froemke is an information technology (IT) and geographic information systems (GIS) specialist in the Human Dimensions Program at RMRS in Fort Collins, CO. In addition to her work on wildfire risk mitigation, Pam contributes to research on water quality in Colorado and assessing watershed conditions nationwide. Pam holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Equine Science from Colorado State University. More on Pam’s research can be found here.
Jamie Gomez is Assistant Director for WRWC, and he also provides services as the Acting Mitigation Specialist for the residents of Delta, Ouray and San Miguel Counties. Jamie first began working with WRWC in 2013. He has a diverse background in natural resource science and management and has worked in several capacities to assist landowners and managers develop and implement projects that serve to improve conditions while meeting landowner goals. Jamie received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Environmental Biology from Fort Lewis College and maintains a sincere interest in wildfire ecology and natural resource conservation. More on Jamie’s work can be found here.
James Meldrum is a research economist in the Social and Economic Analysis Branch at the US Geological Survey (USGS) Fort Collins Science Center. In addition to his work with the WiRē Team, he investigates the effects of natural resource decisions, including those about fuels and fire management, on ecosystem services. James has authored numerous publications on wildfire risk, plus other topics including water resources, energy, flood risk, and invasive species. James has a PhD in environmental economics from the University of Colorado Environmental Studies Program and a BS in physics from Washington University in St. Louis. More on James’s research can be found here.
Pam Wilson was the Executive Director for FireWise of Southwest Colorado until 2017. During her tenure, FireWise added two chapters in Montezuma and Archuleta Counties, doubled the number of Neighborhood Ambassadors, completed ten subdivision-level Community Wildfire Protection Plans, and had two communities attain FireWise Communities status. Pam retired from the U.S. Forest Service in 2007 after 23 years of service, most recently on the San Juan National Forest in Durango as a Public Affairs Specialist for the fire and fuels program.