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Professor Wakimoto Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

Fire science professor Ron Wakimoto received the Biswell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Fire Ecology this week.

The award, named for fire ecologist Harold Biswell, was given during the AFE’s Large Fire Conference in Missoula.

The Association for Fire Ecology gives up to three lifetime achievement awards each year to individuals who have made a significant contribution to fire ecology and management in the United States, and who have inspired and mentored a generation of fire ecologists.

Wakimoto was one of three PhD students who studied under professor Biswell at the University of California-Berkeley who have received the honor. Wakimoto has a B.S., M.S. and PhD from Berkeley and has taught at the University of Montana since 1982.

Wakimoto began his teaching career at Berkeley in 1976. While at the University of Montana’s College of Forestry and Conservation he has taught courses in wildland fire management, fuel management, and fire ecology. He was chair of the department of ecosystem and conservation sciences from 2005 to 2011.

Wakimoto served on the National Fire Policy Review team following the Yellowstone fires in 1988 and has testified to the U.S. Congress on fire policy.

In 2004, Wakimoto was elected a fellow by the Society of American Foresters. He served the SAF from 1990 to 1994 as chair for student affairs and is currently a member of the committee on accreditation.

Since 2006, Wakimoto has led international efforts to train Bhutanese foresters and provided fire training to more than 200 Bhutanese forest managers and volunteers.

Harold Biswell, a long-time faculty member at UC-Berkeley, was one of the first fire scientists to highlight the important role of fire in healthy forest ecosystems and pioneered the use of controlled burns.