Renowned fire manager, researcher, and policymaker Tom Zimmerman will give a lecture Thursday, Feb. 20 as the first in the Mike & Mabelle Hardy Fire Management Lecture Series. Zimmerman speaks at 4 p.m. in the University Center Rm. 331 on the University of Montana campus. His talk is titled "Wildland Fire Management: Are We Doing Enough?".
The lecture is the first in a series established through an estate gift from Mike Hardy, a 1939 alumnus of the School of Forestry. Mike worked as a forester and fire researcher in his 78-year career. His varied career led him to invent the first belt weather kit carried by firefighters, create the handbook for standardized fire weather observations, and direct a national project to develop and evaluate wildland fire chemicals. In 1990, the College of Forestry and Conservation honored Mike as one of its distinguished alumni.
Tom Zimmerman served for 33 years with multiple federal land management agencies including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service (NPS), and US Forest Service (USFS). Assignments spanned all organizational levels (field, state, regional, and national offices) as well as the areas of management operations and research and development.
He was involved in training, program management, policy development, technology transfer, use of wildland fire, prescribed fire, wildfire and emergency incident management, fire ecology, fire behavior, long-term risk assessment, decision support, and other field operational activities. He assisted or led efforts for new program creation including Fire Use Management Teams and Fire Use Modules; fire behavior training course consolidation; creation of the Wildland Fire Implementation Plan (WFIP) for documentation and implementation of wildland fire use decisions; development of the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS) for wildfire decision documentation and planning; and development of the Wildland Fire Management Research, Development, and Application program (WFM RD&A).
He provided training at the Canadian National Fire Management Training Center in Hinton, Alberta, presented lectures at the Southwestern Forestry College in Kunming, Peoples Republic of China, and led an international team to provide advanced training at the Indian National Institute of Disaster Management, New Delhi. He has presented papers, either in person or virtually, at conferences in the United States, Canada, Italy, South Africa, and Cyprus. He has over 30 years of involvement in incident management team operations and served as an Incident Commander and Area Commander on wildland fire, prescribed natural fire, and wildland fire use events; and all hazard emergency responses, including six hurricanes. He has published two book chapters and over 50 articles, technical reports, and professional papers on fire ecology, fire management, fire economics, wildland fire use, fire management policy, science application and integration, risk assessment, decision making, and change management. He also worked on the 1995, 2001, and 2009 reviews, clarification, or modifications to the Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy, and co-authored the Wildland Fire Use Implementation Procedures Reference Guide.
Tom’s educational background includes a B.S. Forestry from the University of Montana, an M.S. in Forestry/Fire Ecology from the University of Idaho, and a Ph.D. in Forest Fire Science from Colorado State University. Tom has received Special Achievement, Quality Achievement, and Performance Awards from the BLM, NPS, and USFS, the Excellence in Government Award from the New Mexico Federal Executive Board, the Chief’s Honor Award for Science and Technology from the US Forest Service, and the Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer. He is a member of the Society of American Foresters (SAF), the Association for Fire Ecology (AFE), and the International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF). He is certified as a Certified Forester by SAF and as a Senior Wildland Fire Manager and Senior Fire Ecologist by the AFE.
Tom currently serves as the president of the International Association of Wildland Fire.