Wildland Fire Management

Management of wildland fires has offered exciting and lucrative summer job opportunities to generations of firefighters.  For many of us, seasonal firefighting is the source of some of our most memorable work experiences.  Wildland fire also presents career prospects for motivated, hardworking individuals.   The significant and growing role of fire within ecosystems, the application of sophisticated tools and technology in fire management, and the increasing public scrutiny of wildland fire make for dynamic opportunities to develop productive careers.  However, negotiating career pathways in fire management can be challenging because students are expected to gain 4-year degrees in forestry, biology, or natural resources while simultaneously developing requisite job skills through fire training and experience.  Obtaining both requires organization, motivation, knowledge, and hard work.  

The Wildland Fire Management Emphasis in the Resources Conservation Degree Program at UM prepares students for careers in fire management through flexible yet concentrated study in fire science, forestry, and land management, while providing professional advising to connect students with jobs, training and experiential opportunities.  Our program maintains a strong core of ecology, biology, soils, measurements, statistics, and communications.  Beyond this core, students can tailor coursework to develop more expertise in areas such as fire ecology, forest operations and restoration, fuels management, economics, and geospatial analysis. 

The Wildland Fire Management Emphasis is an ideal option for students with career goals in fire management, and may be particularly suitable for non-traditional and transfer students. Beyond coursework, it is expected that students will actively take part in fire management activities via summer jobs, fire training, and UM student firefighter associations.

Our program benefits from access to the College’s nearby Lubrecht Experimental Forest, where students actively participate in fire and forestry operations.  Beyond the College of Forestry and Conservation, the city of Missoula is a center for fire learning, research, training, and technology development, providing unparalleled work and training opportunities for motivated students.  In short, there is not a better place to study fire than Missoula, Montana. 

The degree meets the requirements of the government-service 0401 series and can meet the professional forester (0460) series with proper advising.

Required Core Curriculum

In addition to specialized courses in the Wildland Fire Management track, all students must complete the required core curriculum.

Within the required core curriculum, students in the Wildland Fire Management track should take M 151 Precalculus or M 162 Applied Calculus, BIOO 105 Botany, FORS 330 Forest Ecology, NRSM 422 Natural Resource Policy, and NRSM 379 Collaboration in Natural Resource Decisions.    

Degree Requirements

Suggested Courses for the Wildland Fire Mangement Track

The following courses are recommended for students emphasizing Wildland Fire Management. Many students in this track complete the Wildland Fire Science and Management minor.  Please note that the courses in bold are the most important courses for students in this track to take.

FORS 202 - Forest Mensuration FORS 201 3
FORS 230 - Fire Management and Enivornment 3
FORS 232 - Forest Insects & Disease 2
FORS 241 - Dendrology BIOO 105 3
FORS 331 - Wildland Fuel Management FORS 230 3
FORS 333 - Fire Ecology FORS 230 3
FORS 495 - Prescribed Fire Practicum 3
GEO 101N - Introduction to Physical Geology 3
PHSX 205/206N - General Physics
ECNS 201S - Principles of Microeconomics 3
NRSM 265 - Elements of Ecological Restoration 1 ecology/biology course 3
ERTH 303N - Weather & Climate 3
FORS 320 - Forest Economics M 162, ECNS 201 3
FORS 341 - Timber Harvest & Forest Roads FORS 200 2
FORS 347 - Multiple Resource Silviculture FORS 330 3
FORS 351 - Environmental Remote Sensing M 151 3
NRSM 385 - Watershed Hydrology 3
FORS 481 - Forest Planning NRSM 422 3
FORS 533 - Use of Fire in Wildland Management Instructor consent & min GPA req 3