Update of my status as of December 22, 2020

I've been offline off and on for the last few weeks suffered from a severe hardware failure :-(

I've now moved to the cloud and I'm running as a new "virtual" smokey but it will take some time for me to fully recover.


Dave Martell is the 2020 recipient of the Ember Award for Excellence in Wildland Fire Science

Patrick James and Dave Martell are members of NSERC/CANADA Wildfire Strategic Network that has been awarded a $5 million NSERC Strategic Partnership Grant for a five year period beginning in 2020. The principal investigator and scientific director of the network is Mike Flannigan of the University of Alberta.  James  will lead several projects examining the role of outbreaks of forest insect pests (spruce and jack-pine budworm) on fuel development and fire behaviour. This work will also investigate ecological consequences (e.g., wildlife habitat) of cumulative fire-insect disturbances.Martell will lead a team that includes Jen Beverly and Ilbin Lee of the University of Alberta and Mark Crowley and Kate Larson at the University of Waterloo who will focus their research efforts on the Network’s Theme 5, Delivering Innovative Fire Management Solutions.

Kendriah Pearse recently began her M.Sc.F. program under the supervision of Mike Wotton, Xianli Wang, and Mike Flannigan. Kendriah is (hoping to) retrospectively study outputs from the CFFDRS for the days leading up to wildfire evacuations in an effort to determine if certain fire behavior and weather characteristics could act as early indicators of evacuations. Prior to this, Kendriah worked as a Fire Research Scientist at Great Lakes Forestry Centre in Sault Ste. Marie as well as an ornithology research assistant for Algoma University and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre.

Dean Rosen is a Masters in Forest Conservation (MFC) student who has spent the last three summers working as a FireRanger for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.  He is currently working on his MFC capstone project for which he plans to analyze the current trends and future implications of staff retention and recruitment in Ontario’s Wildfire Management Program
Melanie Wheatley recently transferred from our Masters in Forest Science program to become a PhD candidate and is studying forest fire suppression effectiveness under the supervision of Mike Wotton. Her research focuses on the use and capability of fire suppression resources, including air tankers and their influence on both fire behaviour and containment.  She is the recipient of an NSERC Canadian Graduate Scholarship.

Julian Nicholls completed his M.Sc.F. program during which he studied the use of high altitude drones to monitor wildfires.  He is currently employed as a forest fire analyst with the Canadian Forest Service at the Great Lakes Forestry Centre in Sault Ste. Marie where he is working on upgrading the Spatial Fire Management System.

Sam LaCarte completed his M.Sc.F program during which he studied initial attack success on fires burning in Black Spruce fuel type complexes in the province of Ontario.  He is now employed as a  Fire Research Analyst by the Canadian Forest Service at the Northern Forest Research Centre in Edmonton where he is working on the development of improved methods for fuel type mapping.

Mary Grunstra is currently on parental leave and simultaneously collaborating with Dave Martell on a research project studying the evolution and efficacy of Ontario's historic fire tower detection system.

Chelene Hanes is a PhD candidate that is being supervised by Mike Wotton. She is on educational leave from Natural Resources Canada where she is a Physical Scientist at the Great Lakes Forestry Centre in Sault Ste. Marie. She recently published a paper entitled Preceding Fall Drought Conditions and Overwinter Precipitation Effects on Spring Wildland Fire Activity in Canada (https://doi.org/10.3390/fire3020024).

Tom Schiks is a Forest Fire Research Scientist and PhD candidate supervised by Mike Wotton and Dave Martell. Tom's research investigates the utility of active fire remote sensing for monitoring wildfire growth events across Canada's fire-prone landscapes. He is the Fire Behaviour Lead for the Canadian WildFireSat mission launched by Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Space Agency.

Nick Fellini is enrolled in the M.Sc. program in mathematics at the University of Toronto. He worked with the Firelab for the past three summers during which his research was focused  on the development of mathematical models of fire spotting processes and optimization models to inform forest management planning. He was an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Assistant (USRA) and a recipient of a Canadian Forest Workforce Diversity Undergraduate Supplement Award.

Emmett Snyder is developing a spatially explicit strategic planning model that can be used to inform the management of  flammable forest landscapes inhabited by Woodland Caribou