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Team Affiliates

We aren't working alone (thankfully). So many other people are helping make this possible by contributing valuable time, energy, effort, resources, and ideas. Below are some important team members who keep this operation going:

Roman Watson & Charlene Rogers-- Dispatch Survey


Dr. Sarah Oerther-- Environmental Health


Dr. Patricia O'Brien-- Wildland Firefighter Environmental Health


Dr. Matt Thimgan, Dr. Sarah Hercula, Dr. Dan Hier, Dr. V.A. Samaranyake-- Dispatcher Sleep & Performance

Miranda Ragland, Bryan Held, Amelia Pearson, Charlie Carter, Sage Wood, Olivia Chenevert, Ashley Henning and other members of the Verble Lab-- multiple projects

Hi and welcome!

A note from one author

Robin, here.


Thanks for checking out the results of our survey. We are excited to continue to expand this webpage and offer more content as we analyze more data.  This site is starting to expand to include other projects and be a home for a lot of wildland fire environmental health work and will hopefully keep growing!

I'm the primary writer, while my co-authors have played other important roles in data collection and analysis. They both have been very detailed in making sure I get the descriptions of the process right-- I'm not a federal wildland firefighter. I'm an academic who loves the chance to get to hold a drip torch (or really just leave the desk). If you see something that you feel like is a misrepresentation or even unclear, please know that it is not intentional or malicious, and I want to know: Please don't hesitate to send me a message and provide a correction.  


I also wanted to tell you a little about myself and my journey to this project: I grew up in southern Indiana in the 1990s, and wildland fire wasn't any everyday part of my life, but an ecology course in college changed my perspectives and started me on an academic trajectory that has had strong ties to the wildland fire community.


My first research projects dealt with the ways in which prescribed burns shape insect communities in Ozark forests. I made it a mission to make sure I went out and learned 'how' fires were being lit so I could understand the managers' concerns and also, so I could ask more informed questions. I earned my FFT2 quals, did my first pack test, and got some on-the-ground experience there.  I've never been a full-time wildland firefighter, but I've participated in 65ish fires across four states and have loved learning and working on every single one. 

My first faculty position was as an assistant professor of fire ecology and management in the Department of Natural Resources Management at Texas Tech University-- Henry Wright initially held this job, so I always felt privileged to be walking in the footsteps of a giant. I learned a LOT more about fire management there, in grasslands that were not at all like the forests that I had helped burn in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. I also reinvigorated a prescribed burn training program for the college students at Texas Tech that became popular and successful, one of my proudest achievements. There, I also learned the importance of legislative actions as a member of the Texas Prescribed Burn Board and began interacting with the public in that capacity.

I recently moved to Missouri in 2018 where I'm working as an associate professor of biology, the director of a field station, the director of an environmental science program, and yes, still a researcher, at Missouri University of Science and Technology. I'm a member of the Missouri Prescribed Fire Council, where, as part of a consortium of stakeholders, we helped pass Missouri's first prescribed fire law last year. I still train some firefighters, but a lot more of my time is spent thinking about policy-level issues.

I am also the partner and co-parent of a wildland firefighter and endured the frustrations of that partnership and heard firsthand stories from my partner and our friends. This project has been one of the most personally significant in my career, and I'm proud to share these data with you and look forward to continuing to add more as we complete analyses.

Best wishes,


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