Our program is jointly funded by the Departments of Agriculture and Interior and
governance is through a 10-member Governing Board with 5 members from the Forest Service
and 1 member each from the Bureaus of Land Management, Indian Affairs, Fish and Wildlife Service,
Park Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Governing Board Chair
USGS-EROS Data Center
Sioux Falls, SD
Matt Rollins is the wildland fire science coordinator for the USGS, located in Reston, VA. Prior to that he led the wildland fire science team at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center in Sioux Falls SD. Prior to that he worked for 9 years as a research ecologist at the U.S. Forest Service Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, MT. His research emphases have included 1) evaluating changes in 20th century wildland fire and landscape patterns under different wildland fire management strategies; 2) integrating biophysical gradient modeling with ecosystem simulation and remote sensing for national level vegetation and wildland fuel mapping applications; and 3) integration of national level wildland fuel and fire regime data into wildland fire management decision support applications and policy. 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.
Governing Board Vice-Chair
National Fire Ecologist
Washington Office - Fire and Aviation Management (Detached)
USDA Forest Service
Since 1990, Menakis has worked on various research projects related to fire ecology
at the community and landscape levels for the Fire Ecology and Fuels Project.
Currently, he is working for the Fire Modeling Institute on the Hazardous Fuels
Prioritization Allocation System (HFPAS) for Forest Service and Department Interior,
mapping Wild Fire Potential for the nation, providing technical support on the
Cohesive Strategy, and providing continued support on Fire Regime Condition Class
(FRCC). Menakis was recently the Rapid Assessment team lead for the LANDFIRE
project. He has recently worked on mapping Historical Natural Fire Regimes, FRCC,
and Wildland Fire Risk to Flammable Structures for the conterminous United States
and relative FRCC for the western United States. Before that, he was the GIS
Coordinator of the Landscape Ecology Team for the Interior Columbia River Basin
Scientific Assessment Project and was involved with mapping FARSITE layers for the
Gila Wilderness and the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. Menakis received his B.S.
degree in Forestry and M.S. degree in Environmental Studies from the University
of Montana, Missoula.
Forest Supervisor, Kitsatchie National Forest
USDA Forest Service
Mike has had a diverse 30 years of experience with the Forest Service. During
those years Mike has worked in four Regions of the Forest Service and on eleven
different national forests. Mike began his career in Florida as a biological aid
working in wildlife, timber, and prescribed burning. He has also worked as a
wildlife biologist, resource assistant, and in a Supervisor's office as a planner.
Mike was a District Ranger for over 12 years on the Kootenai National Forest in Troy,
Montana prior to becoming the Deputy Forest Supervisor on the Bridger-Teton National
Forest. After 2 ½ years on the B-T and over 20 years in the west, Mike was selected
for the Forest Supervisor job on the Kisatchie National Forest and has been there
since 2009. Mike has been a Line Officer since 1994.
Mike has a Bachelor's degree in Forest Resources and Conservation from the
University of Florida. He played baseball at Valdosta State College and Central
Florida Community College prior to completing his degree requirements at the
University of Florida.
Mike has a great deal of experience in Fire as well having served as the Agency
Administrator on well over a dozen Type I and Type II incidents, including the
Rainbow Family event in 2008. In addition to his Line Officer and community
experience, Mike also has operational experience as a Division Group Supervisor
and Fire Safety Officer.
Mike enjoys collaboration and working with partners. He has considerable experience
with Stewardship Contracting and Agreements, various citizens groups, and working
with communities to improve their economic situations and infrastructure.
Mike has held numerous community leadership positions such as Park District Chair,
President of the Troy Business Club, President of the Water and Sewer District,
Coach/Manager and organizer of youth sports for the town of Troy, and for over
12 years served as a high school football official.
Mike is on the Board of Directors for several organizations including; Louisiana
Forestry Association, Joint Fire Science Program, Lower Mississippi Valley Joint
Venture, and Gulf Coastal Plain Ozark Landscape Conservation Cooperative.
Mike and his wife Sylvia have been married for over 30 years. Mike enjoys golf,
hiking, and hunting.
Mike and Sylvia, have two boys both of whom are graduates of Montana State
University in Bozeman, Montana. One, is a Computer Software Engineer in Johnson
City, Tennessee, and the second one is a Film and Media graduate and is currently
working as a firefighter for the Forest Service in Montana.
Fire Ecologist Program Leader
DOI National Park Service
National Interagency Fire Center, Boise, Idaho
Nate Benson has worked
for the National Park Service for more than fifteen years in
a variety of positions. He started his NPS fire career as a
fire effects monitor at Glacier National Park, and then moved
to Yellowstone and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks as a
Fire Use Module Leader. More recently he was the Prescribed
Fire Specialist at Everglades National Park. He is currently
at the NPS Fire Management Program Center as the National Fire
Ecology Program Lead. Nate has a Master of Science - Land Resources
degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Institute
for Environmental Studies.
BIA, Eastern Region
(biography not yet available)
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.
Deputy Regional Fire Mgmt Coordinator
DOI US Fish & Wildlife Service, Southwest Region 2
Mark began his career in fire as an Arizona hotshot crewmember for the USFS in 1982,
his first summer out of high school. Over the next 13 years he worked on other
hotshot crews, engine and helitack crews for the USFS, NPS, and the BLM. Mark
was a hotshot superintendent and also worked in Alaska with Native American Crews
for the Alaska Fire Service. As a seasonal firefighter Mark either went to college
or traveled in the winter months. Mark traveled extensively throughout Latin America,
Southeast Asia, and to 24 countries in Africa between 1985 and 2000.
Mark attended graduate school at the University of Arizona’s Laboratory
of Tree-Ring research. In northern Mexico and the Southwest United States, Mark
conducted research on past land-uses, fire history, and human fire influences in
mixed-conifer, pine-oak forest, and semi-desert grassland ecosystems.
Mark is currently the Deputy Regional Fire Management Coordinator for the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Region in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where
he consults the Refuge in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. Mark has been
involved with International fire management training and planning in Central America
and Mexico, through the Interior Technical Assistance Program and The Nature
Marks personal interests include hiking, biking, fishing, international travel and
outdoor activities with his wife Kelli, and their 7 year old son Nate.
B.S., Environmental Sciences; Range and Wildlife, Arizona State University, 1992
M.S., Watershed Management, The University of Arizona, 1998
MS, Arid Lands Resource Sciences, The University of Arizona, 2004
Fire Research Program Leader
USDA Forest Service
Elizabeth is the Forest Service's National Program Leader for Fire
Research. She started working for the Forest Service as a seasonal employee in 1978
and spent most of her career at the Rocky Mountain Research Station's Missoula Fire
Sciences Laboratory where she was a research forester. Her research focused on fire
ecology and wildland fuel treatment. She is a principle developer of FOFEM (a First
Order Fire Effects Model) and FFE-FVS (the Fire and Fuels Extension to the Forest
Vegetation Simulator. She served as Project Leader of the Fire Ecology and Fuels
Project, and the Director of the Fire Modeling Institute for several years. In 2009
she came to Washington DC as a member of the Policy Analysis staff, and then served
in the Climate Change Advisor's Office for two years as staff assistant.
She has degrees in English (A.B., Harvard University), and forestry (M.S. and Ph.D.,
University of Montana).
M. L. Smith
Deputy Forest Supervisor
USDA Forest Service, Boise National Forest
Marie-Louise "ML" Smith is currently serving as the Deputy Forest Supervisor on the
Boise National Forest in southwest Idaho. ML came to this position in August 2010
after serving as Staff Assistant to the Deputy Chief for the National Forest System
in Washington DC.
ML started her career in 1987 as a seasonal backcountry ranger and wildland
firefighter on the Chugach National Forest in Alaska. Since then, she
has served as an ecologist and research ecologist with the Northern Research Station
in Durham, NH, and in Washington, D.C. as a legislative specialist on Forest Service
Legislative Affairs staff and as Acting Assistant Director for Integrated Vegetation
ML earned a B.S. in Natural Resources at the University of Michigan-Ann
Arbor, a M.S. in Forestry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Ph.D. in
Forest Ecology from the University of New Hampshire.