Governing Board

Our program is jointly funded by the Departments of Agriculture and Interior and governance is through a 12-member Governing Board with members from the Forest Service, the Bureaus of Land Management, Indian Affairs, Fish and Wildlife Service, Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and Office of Wildland Fire.

Board Members
Joint Fire Science Program Governing Board June 2016 Kalispell Meeting

Matt Rollins Matt Rollins
Governing Board Chair
Program Manager
Threats Characterization and Mgt
USDA Forest Service
Wenatchee, WA

Matt Rollins is the National Program Leader for U.S. Forest Service Wildland Fire and Fuels Research and Development in Washington D.C. In 2000 he got his start as a Research Ecologist with the Forest Service at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory working on: 1) evaluating how changes in wildland fire management strategies affected landscape composition, structure, and function over the 20th century; 2) forecasting fire regimes and landscape change under a changing climate using ecological simulation models; and 3) integrating landscape modeling and satellite imagery for national fire regime and fuel mapping applications. From 2009 to 2014 he worked with the USGS at the EROS data center as their Fire Science Team Leader and at USGS headquarters as their National Wildland Fire Science Coordinator.

He earned a B.S. in Wildlife Biology in 1993 and an M.S. in Forestry in 1995 from the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana. His Ph.D. was awarded by The University of Arizona in 2000, where he worked at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.

Jim Menakis Jim Menakis
Governing Board
National Fire Ecologist
Washington Office - Fire and Aviation Management (Detached)
USDA Forest Service
Fort Collins, CO
Jim Menakis has been the National Fire Ecologist for Forest Service Washington Office Fire and Aviation Management since 2010.  He joined the JFSP Governing Board in spring of 2011.  Prior to 2010, Jim worked for the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station Missoula Fire Science Laboratory for 20 years: on various research projects relating to fuels and fire ecology, on national mapping projects including Wildland Fire Potential, LANDFIRE Rapid Assessment and Fire Regime Condition Class, and on applying the best available science to support management needs including the Hazardous Fuels Prioritization and Allocation System (HFPAS) and Forest on the Edge publication -- Wildfire, wildlands, and people: understanding and preparing for wildfire in the wildland-urban interface (   Today, Jim is working on evaluating the effectiveness of fuel treatment when tested by wildfire, supporting national, regional, and forest level wildfire risk assessments, and supporting the fire ecology program in Forest Service. Jim received his B.S. degree in Forestry and M.S. degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana, Missoula.

Robin Wills Robin Wills
Fire Management Officer
DOI National Park Service
Pacific West Region, San Francisco, California

Robin Wills began his fire career on the Clearwater National Forest in 1980.  He continued his Forest Service employment through much of the 1980’s with fire positions on the Flathead, Klamath and Mendocino National Forests as well as the Riverside Forest Fire Laboratory.

Thorough much of the 1990’s Robin acted as the Fire Management Officer for the Nature Conservancy of California.  This position included responsibility for planning and implementation of 20 to 40, 000 acres of prescribed fire per year, across the country, as well as fire effects research in grasslands, coastal sage scrub and oak woodland communities.

Robin received a bachelor’s degree in Forest Ecology from the Ohio State University and a Master’s degree in Fire Ecology from Humboldt State University.

Robin returned to federal service in 1999, filling the position of fire ecologist for the Pacific West Region.  He served in that role until the fall of 2014, managing the Planning and Ecology Division, providing fire ecology and operations expertise to Parks across the Pacific West Region.

He currently is the Deputy Region Fire Management Officer supporting fire operations across six states and 50 park units. He is also an Operations Section Chief on CIIMT 5.  His professional interests continue to focuses on the description of appropriate fire regimes and associated implementation models.

Karen Prentice Karen Prentice
National Healthy Landscapes Coordinator
Washington, DC
Karen Prentice is the Bureau of Land Management’s National Healthy Landscapes Coordinator.  She provides leadership for several aspects of the BLM’s landscape approach including coordinating landscape resiliency activities with internal and external partners and stakeholders, developing national policy on landscape restoration, and supporting development of the BLM’s Rapid Ecoregional Assessments.  She received her BA in Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College and her MS in Range Science from Colorado State University.   Throughout much of the 1990’s she worked for a Colorado-based firm that conducted baseline botanical assessments and post-reclamation monitoring on coal mines and other projects throughout the west. In 2000, she started her career with the Bureau of Land Management’s Ely (Nevada) District where she served through 2010 in several capacities, including Rangeland Management Specialist, District Noxious and Invasive Weed Specialist, Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation Coordinator, and Special Projects Manager.   In January 2011, she transferred to her current position in Washington D.C.

  Paul Steblein
Fire Science Coordinator
USGS, Washington, DC
(biography not yet available)

Bil Grauel Bil Grauel
National Fire Ecologist
Bureau of Indian Affairs
National Interagency Fire Center, Boise Idaho

William (Bil) Grauel is currently the National Fire Ecologist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Branch of Wildland Fire Management, at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.  He serves as the Bureau lead in fire ecology and fire effects monitoring while providing support in fuels planning and fire behavior modeling.  Before joining the BIA he served as Fire Use Specialist for the San Carlos Apache Tribe in eastern Arizona from 2004 to 2012. He earned a B.S. in Range-Forest Management in 1984 and an M.S in Forest Management in 1994 from Colorado State University.  He served as an Agroforestry Extensionist in Paraguay for the Peace Corps from 1990-1993 and worked in basic and applied forest ecology research in Costa Rica and Panama from 1994-2000.  He earned a PhD in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the University of Florida in 2004.

Rob Griffith Rob Griffith
Assistant Director Fire and Aviation Management
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region
As Assistant Director for Fire and Aviation Management, Rob has primary responsibility for Fuels Management, Fire Ecology, Air Quality, and Fire Prevention Programs.

He has 32 years Forest Service experience and a B.S. degree in Forest Science with an emphasis in soil science from Humboldt State University, California.

Bertram Plante Bertram Plante
District Fire Management Officer, District 1
DOI US Fish & Wildlife Service, Alligator River NWR

C Bertram "Bert" Plante started his fire career on the Kaibab NF in Arizona in 1980. Shortly after, he was hired by the NJ State Forest Fire Service as a primary fire control officer in the pine barrens of southern New Jersey. Over the following 32 years, he rose through the ranks to a leadership position in the state headquarters, which included responsibility for the states' prescribed fire program. Other responsibilities included management of the states' contract aviation, fire danger and reporting programs, as well as leading response to air quality and legislative issues. He retired from the state to join the USFWS in 2011, joining the Alligator River NWR in eastern NC as a prescribed fire specialist.

During that time, he was an adjunct professor on wildland fire policy and practice at Rutgers University, as well as an elected councilman in his home town for 18 years.

Presently, he is the District (Zone) Fire Management Officer for the FWS in North Carolina. Additionally, he is a qualified PIO, and serves as a Division Supervisor on the Southern Area Red team, as well as on the Eastern Area Type 2 team.

Bert received his B.S. in Forestry from the University of Vermont.

Denise Blankenship Denise Blankenship
Deputy Director, Fire & Aviation Management
USDA Forest Service, Washington Office
Denise's fire career began in 1987 on the Mt. Hood National Forest in Region 6. In 1991 she accepted a position in California, spending the next 23 years in the Forest Service and BLM fire programs. In 2008 she became the BLM California Deputy State Fire Management Officer, Fuels. Denise spent many years working air operations on Type 1 Incident Management Teams, becoming an Air Operations Branch Director in 2011. She returned to the Forest Service and Region 6 in 2013 as the FAM Assistant Director for Fire Integration and in 2015, accepted a position in Washington, D.C. as the Forest Service Deputy Director for Fire and Aviation Management. Her current program portfolio includes Landscapes, Partnerships, Planning and Fire Budget with a heavy emphasis. She currently represents the Forest Service on the Wildland Fire Leadership Council's National Strategic Committee responsible for Cohesive Strategy and cross boundary collaboration with Federal, State and local partners. 2016 marks her 30th year working in all aspects of fire, fuels and aviation management.

Denise completed certificate programs from Colorado State University's 1996 Technical Fire Management program and the University of California Davis' 2009 Emergency Response Aviation Safety Management program. In 2011, she completed the Bureau of Land Management Emerging Leaders program.

Carl Petrick Carl Petrick
Forest Supervisor
USDA Forest Service, National Forests in Alabama

Petrick worked for 29 years as a federal land manager in Florida. Most recently he worked in Tallahassee as the natural resources staff officer for the National Forests in Florida, where he gained extensive experience in fish and wildlife management, forest management and forest planning. 

Petrick began his federal career at Tyndall Air Force Base as a wildlife technician/biologist and enforcement officer.  Petrick then worked as Chief of fish and wildlife management at Eglin Air Force Base until 2003. 

Petrick has always enjoyed hunting and fishing, along with physical fitness and college football. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife management from Auburn University.  While attending Auburn, Petrick worked for the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission during the fall quarters.

After graduating from Auburn in 1984, he attended the Pensacola Police Academy to obtain his state law enforcement credentials.

Petrick has three sons: Kyle, 24; Erik, 20; and Alex, 18.

Borys Tkacz Borys Tkacz
Assistant Station Director for Research
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station
(biography not yet available)
Craig Leff
DOI, Office of Wildland Fire
Washington, DC
(biography not yet available)