Smoke in the air from wildfires.

Wildfire risk intensifies — academic experts available for media interviews

Updated on:
August 17, 2020

Wildfires are becoming more extensive – and expensive – in the Western U.S. as climate change produces longer, drier fire seasons with increasing potential to consume residential developments. How are CU Denver researchers influencing how we respond?

Interview a CU Denver expert about predicting, responding to and recovering from wildfires. Contact Sarah Erickson at 303-550-5789 or for all inquiries.

On disaster recovery, risk mitigation and local and state-level environmental policy: Deserai Crow, associate professor in the School of Public Affairs, studies the role of individuals in promoting wildfire risk mitigation on private property. She is an expert on community resiliency and recovery in the face of natural disasters recognized for her deep research on the aftermath of Colorado’s 2013 floods. Read an article covering her global warming community research on the Colorado floods here.

On NASA’S wildfire prediction technology: Jan Mandel, professor of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, is a lead researcher developing NASA’s fire-forecasting system, WRF-SFIRE. Watch the NASA video to see the system put to the test predicting where and how fire will move at a U.S. Forest Service prescribed burn earlier this year.  Interview Mandel about interactions between wildfires, soil moisture and local weather and how he works with NASA on cutting-edge data science to improve wildfire forecasting.

On wildfire resilience: Brian Buma, assistant professor of Integrative Biology, can speak to living with wildfires in the future, forest ecosystems, disturbance and landscape ecology and spatial ecology. His work focuses on disturbances like fire and wind and the subsequent change in species composition and ecosystem functioning. His latest research examines the need to rethink our resilience to wildfire.

On human-environment interactions: Gregory Simon, is an expert in human-environment interactions, environmental policy and governance, political ecology and urban ecology. The associate professor of Geography and Environmental Sciences was recently interviewed for an Associated Press article about the risk of development at the Urban Wildland Interface.

On disaster response and FEMA administration: James Krugman, is a veteran emergency management expert who teaches courses on national emergency management and training in the School of Public Affairs. Krugman has real-world credentials managing the emergency response for wildfires and other natural disasters. He has been with the Denver Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security since 2012 and spent 36 years with the USDA Forest Service. His experience includes extended assignments to the 2014 Florida hurricanes and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Watch a recent news interview with Jim about FEMA administration: FEMA still struggles with disaster planning.