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The Future is Smoky

PANEL DISCUSSION: Thursday, December 14, 2023 from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM ET

With increasing wildfire activity due to changes in climate, smoke will likely become more prevalent and continue to have an effect on society. Earlier this year, smoke from Canada wildfires lowered air quality in the eastern U.S. to its worst levels in recorded history. As the climate heats up and creates drier conditions, smoky skies will grow increasingly common. Health concerns and prescribed burning actions needed to restore functioning ecosystems will be impacted by already smoky conditions across the country. Panelists include research meteorologists, air quality experts, and fire practitioners. Together, they will explore how we can address and adapt to a smoky future.

This panel discussion has been approved for 1.5 Category 1 CFE's by the Society of American Foresters.

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Eric Evenson (Moderator)
Eric Evenson is the Science Communications Specialist with the North Atlantic Fire Science Exchange (NAFSE). Eric joined NAFSE this past June, but prior to coming on board he was a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) for 33 years. And 22 of those years he served as an Incident Meteorologist (IMET) providing onsite weather support at large wildfires across the United States. Eric was actively involved in the training and development of newer IMETs and served as the NWS Liaison to the Fire Science Working Team of the Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact (NFFPC).

Dr. Jay Charney (Panelist)
Jay is a Research Meteorologist with the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station based in East Lansing, MI. Jay’s work focuses on the meteorological features that affect fire behavior and smoke dispersion. He uses physics-based models of weather conditions in tandem with field observations of fire and smoke to help optimize the use and interpretation of current analysis and forecasting tools for informing management decisions, and to help develop new tools for use in the future.

Dr. Scott Goodrick (Panelist)
Dr. Scott Goodrick has been a Research Meteorologist with the USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station since 2002 and currently serves as Director of the Station's Center for Forest Health and Disturbance. His general area of research spans fire-atmosphere interactions and smoke management, focusing on how prescribed fire ignition patterns influence plume dynamics and smoke dispersion. Past research has covered fire-climate dynamics, fire weather, and wind-related forest disturbance. He has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications and conference papers. Before joining the Forest Service, Scott spent 4 years as the fire weather meteorologist for the Florida Forest Service where he helped develop the weather and smoke components of their fire management information system. Scott received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Atmosphere Science from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Dr. Megan Johnson (Panelist)
Megan Johnson is an ORISE postdoctoral fellow at the US Forest Service working within the Sustainable Forest Management Research area. She recently received her PhD from NC State University in Raleigh, working with Dr. Fernando Garcia Menendez. Her research focused on smoke impacts from Southeastern wildland fire and examined questions at the interface of land management and air quality management. While a PhD student, Megan was a Science to Action Fellow with the USGS National Climate Adaptation Science Center and a recipient of a Joint Fire Science Program Graduate Research Innovation Award. She earned her BS in environmental engineering from CU Boulder and her MS in atmospheric science from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Trent Wickman (Panelist)

Trent grew up in northern Minnesota and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He attended Michigan Tech University in Houghton, MI and received a B.S. in Biology and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering. After graduation in 1996 he worked as an Air Permit Engineer for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for five years drafting and issuing air permits for new industrial sources. Since 2001 he has worked for the US Forest Service as an Air Resource Specialist, primarily in the states of Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin, assessing the impact of air emissions from industrial sources to forest resources and also supporting prescribed burning operations through various smoke management activities. Over the last 5 years he has also been detailed to about a dozen different wildfires across the US to do smoke forecasting and monitoring. Trent and his wife currently have 2 kids in college. In his spare time he prays for snow so he can go X-C skiing, bikes, hikes, hunts, fishes, and generally tries to stay outside as much as possible.

Our Panel

List of resources shared during the discussion:

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