Fire Science and Society

Fall 2013 quarter

Taught by

forest ecology, sustainable forestry
fire ecology, soil biogeochemistry and microbial ecology, restoration ecology

Fire has plays the role of ecosystem engineer in forests and grasslands throughout the world. This role has changed over the past hundred years, however, with increasing human populations, sprawling development into fire-prone areas, and altered perceptions of this vital ecological process. With fire suppression and exclusion, we are seeing dramatic changes in the structure and functioning of fire-influenced ecosystems and the role of fire in natural resources management and policy.

There are significant ecological, social and political implications of these changes, ranging from the listing of fire-adapted endangered species to more rigorous air quality regulations to altered pressures and priorities for the timber industry.  Adapting policies in the anticipation to climate change has become a major priority. It is becoming more important for citizens to understand both the benefits and the risks associated with fire as it is increasingly impacting people in their daily lives. This course will introduce students to the language, the ecology and the politics surrounding wildland fire and increase your effectiveness with opportunities that involve fire science, application and management. 

2013 Syllabus

Faculty Biographies

Richard Bigley, Ph.D., is a forest ecologist who teaches sustainable forestry and on occasion a forest ecology class. His current work focuses on the restoration of riparian forests to older forest conditions in western Washington, and the ecology and management of headwater streams and wetlands. He works for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Over the last 21 years with DNR, he has served as the team leader for the Forest Ecology, Wildlife Science and the Habitat Conservation Plan Monitoring and Adaptive Management Teams. He also advises other organizations on the development of conservation plans. Before DNR, he worked as an ecologist for the Forest Service PNW Experiment Station and private industry. Richard earned a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology and Silviculture and a M.Sc. in Botany from the University of British Columbia. He has been an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington, College of the Environment, School of Forestry since 1994. As member of the Northern Spotted owl “5-year review” panel in 2004, Richard was a contributor to the first comprehensive evaluation of the scientific information on the Northern Spotted owl since the time of its listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1990. After his family, his passions are the science of natural resources management and conservation, and boating.

Sarah Hamman, Ph. D., is the Restoration Ecologist for the Center for Natural Lands Management. Her work is aimed at restoring rare species habitat in PNW prairies using rigorous science and careful conservation planning. Sarah holds a B.A. in Biology from Wittenberg University and a Ph.D. in Ecology from Colorado State University. Most of her training and experience has been in ecosystem ecology, with a focus on fire effects on forest and grassland soils. She has also studied climate change impacts on Minnesota tallgrass prairies, wolf behavior and demographics in Yellowstone, fire effects on invasive species in Sequoia National Park, and restoration techniques for endangered species in central Florida rangelands. At Evergreen, she teaches Fire Science and Society and Restoration Ecology for the Graduate Program on the Environment.

Program Details

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Evening

Advertised schedule: 6-10p Mon


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Required Fees

$115 for overnight field trip to Wenatchee, October 11-13, 2013.

Undergraduate Credit Option

Requires Faculty Approval

Registration Information

Credits: 4 (Fall)

Class standing: Graduate

Maximum enrollment: 15


Course Reference Number

(4 GR credits): 10064

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