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Colorado College Wildfire and Fire Recovery Sources

Andrew Dunham, professor of political science
(719) 578-8905 (H)

Dunham has worked as a firefighter for the Forest Service and for the Wilderness Society analyzing the economic and ecological impact of fires. As a political scientist, he has researched the organizational practices of the Forest Service, in particular their efforts to deal with the urban/wildlands interface.
Consequently, Dunham can speak about fires from several different perspectives: the personal viewpoint of fighting fires; an ecological perspective of fire regimes (wildfires are ecologically necessary and inevitable);  a political perspective on the impossible position of the Forest Service,  which can neither keep people from living in fire prone areas nor protect them once the fires start; an historical perspective that recognizes past successful efforts to suppress fires has increased the available fuel and so made fires worse; and a practical perspective of what homeowners can do to fireproof their homes. Dunham also studies climate change, which he says does not bode well for the future of fires in the West. Although he was 100 miles away during last year’s Waldo Canyon fire, his wife and daughter were briefly evacuated.

Eric Perramond, associate professor of Southwest Studies
(719) 389-6241 (W)

Perramond can discuss natural hazards planning, political ecology of fire, planning/zoning, and climate change resilience for the wildland/urban interface. He also can discuss the geospatial aspects of planning, hazard mapping and risk mitigation. Perramond has taken his Political Ecology of the Southwest class to the burn scar with members of the emergency management team, Colorado Springs Fire Department and Colorado Springs Utilities, to better understand the first steps in disaster mitigation, hazards planning, sediment in water, urban flood hazards and potential impacts to the water systems in the area. He plans to make this a multi-year follow-up study.
Additionally, he is advising two rising senior thesis students who are working on fire ecology topics; one locally focused on Waldo, the other on comparative fire policies in the U.S. and Australia. (For more on the students’ work, see below.)

Christine Siddoway, professor of geology
(719) 389-6717 (W)

Siddoway can discuss geospatial mapping for multiyear evaluation of consequences of fire (erosion, slope stability, etc.) She teaches a course titled “The Rocky Mountains as a Physical System" (GY210), which employs GPS mapping and observation in the Blodgett Peak Open Space, part of the burned area.

Brian Linkhart, associate professor of biology

(719) 684-4145 (C)

Linkhart can discuss forest ecology, particularly the ecology of ponderosa pine forests. He specializes in studying the habitat requirements of forest birds, and how environmental impacts (wildfires, climate change, timber harvests, etc.) affect the reproduction and survival of owls. He has taken students to the Hayman and Buffalo Creek fire sites to study the impact, aftereffects, etc., of fire. At the time of the Waldo Canyon fire, he was conducting field research in other areas that the Waldo Canyon fire threatened. He lives in Ute Valley Park near the Waldo Canyon burn area. Linkhart is in the field conducting research most of the summer, so email is the best way to contact him as cell phone coverage is spotty.

Miro Kummel, associate professor of environmental science

(719) 201 8319 (C)

Kummel can address post-fire ecosystem ecology, including soil chemistry; water chemistry of streams with burned watersheds and hydrology of streams with burned watersheds; and post-fire ecosystem regeneration.

Marion Hourdequin, associate professor of philosophy
(719) 389-6563 (W)

Hourdequin taught a summer course titled Ecological Restoration (co-taught with David Havlick of University of Colorado—Colorado Springs) which involved restoration work at the burn site. Hourdequin has done extensive work on the social and ethical dimensions of ecological restoration.

Anne Hyde, professor of history
719-331-0680 (C)

Historian of the American West and author of “Empires, Nations and Families,” which won the Bancroft Prize in 2012. Hyde can speak about the history of fire in the region and how other large fires have played out. She was evacuated briefly during the Waldo Canyon fire and lives in an area that is affected by the resultant flooding.

Jim Ebersole, professor of biology

Ebersole has taken his ecology and advanced ecology classes to the burn site, and can address the recovery of vegetation. He was evacuated during the Waldo Canyon fire.

Howard Drossman, professor of environmental science and co-founder of the Catamount Center and Catamount Institute, and board president of Catamount Center

Drossman was interviewed a piece for KRCC, Colorado College’s NPR-member radio station, in which he discussed wildfires and climate change perception. His radio interview can be heard here:


Charlie Landsman ’14, Environmental Science major or

His thesis looks at firefighting techniques in the wild land urban interface (WUI) where cities meet undeveloped land, as these areas are generally the ones affected by wildfires such the Waldo Canyon fire. He is comparing Australia’s Prepare, Stay, and Defend, or Leave Early to policies in the United States. (The Australian government actively trains residents in the WUI to protect themselves and their property from wildfires.  Those who are not physically fit or prepared to defend their property are forced to evacuate early and in some situations even before a fire is reported if fire conditions are bad enough.)  

Mollie Hayden ’14, Environmental Science major

For her thesis Hayden is analyzing the Colorado Springs Fire Department's Wildfire Hazard Rating System and its role in the socio-environmental outcomes of the Waldo Canyon Fire.

Erica Sarro ’13, Environmental Science major

Sarro led a student effort to help map Waldo Canyon fire clean-up efforts by creating an interactive map that allows officials and homeowners to track restoration progress.