Fire Research

Problem Solving with Research

Our wide reaching Fire Research unit is under the leadership of Dr. Morgan Varner. Morgan brings extensive experience in western and eastern forests, research as a university professor and federal agency team leader, as-well-as serving as past Chair of the Coalition of Prescribed Fire Councils.

Programs within Fire Research:

  • Fire Ecology Program produces science-based knowledge regarding the ecology and conservation of fire-dependent ecosystems.
  • Wildland Fire Science Program conducts interdisciplinary research on wildfire and prescribed fire combustion, spread, and fire effects.
J. Morgan Varner, PhD

J. Morgan Varner, PhD

Research Director & Sr. Scientist

Fire Ecology
Wildland Fire Science

Fire Research Highlights

Prescribed Fire Science: The Case for a Refined Research Agenda

Tall Timbers researchers and a wide variety of partners provide a blueprint for moving forward with research that increases prescribed fire use in this article for the journal Fire Ecology. This influential work covers the difference between wildfire and prescribed fire research, funding biases, climate change, technology and training needs.

Research with NASA on the impact of COVID on Prescribed Fire Use

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, this work uses the latest in fire detection technology to assess the COVID related reduction in overall annual fire activity. Understanding such “fire deficits” is important for prescribed fire planning. Explore interactive data or view the full research article.

Catastrophe Funds to Increase Pace and Scale of Prescribed Fire

Authors from Tall Timbers with partners from Georgia and California explore policy options for “catastrophe funds” in this peer-reviewed article for the journal Fire. Addressing liability and insurance costs for rare, but damaging, escaped prescribed fires is important for increasing the willingness of fire managers to expand the use of prescribed fire.

Fire Modeling with WIFIRE Lab at University of California, San Diego

A Tall Timbers researcher and a Board Member are both Co-Principal Investigators in the WIFIRE Lab based at the San Diego Supercomputer Center. New tools and technology being developed through this partnership are critical for planning and supporting decisions to reintroduce fire in complex settings and to supplement training for the needed prescribed fire workforce.

Prescribed Fire Policy & Advocacy

We also help provide expert support for policymakers while advocating for changes that will help increase the pace and scale of prescribed fire use. Our unique perspective is rooted in a long-term practice of working cooperatively to conduct research and apply it to over a one million acres through a network of land managers in the Southeast. Learn more.

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