Science Session Speakers

Anne Bradley is the Forest Conservation Program Director for The Nature Conservancy in New Mexico. Her work focus is the development of collaborative strategies to improve the health and function of forested ecosystems in the state. Anne is also the New Mexico lead for the Fire Learning Network — a national partnership between TNC and federal land management agencies whose goal is to restore the natural role of fire to the ecosystem while helping communities become fire adapted. Anne has a BA in Biology from Colorado College and a Master’s in Botany from the University of Montana.

Stephen Brown is a Hydrologic Engineer with the US Army Corps of Engineers in Albuquerque, NM.  During his time with USACE, Stephen initiated development of novel data collection platforms facilitating high temporal and spatial geomorphologic measurements of dynamic physical systems.  These platforms include low cost, Arduino/Raspberry Pi based terrestrial, non-contact sensor arrays and rapid response, manned, aerial acquisition systems in partnership with the USAF Civil Air Patrol.  Stephen is also working to implement normalized ‘source to model’ data management workflows to facilitate an ensemble of hydrologic simulation results, serving risk-informed decision making for planning, construction, and emergency operations.       


Dave Callery is a hydrologist with the Northern Region of the USDA Forest Service, based in Helena, Montana. He also serves as the region’s Fire Resource Advisor Coordinator and BAER technical lead for water-related issues. Dave has worked in hydrology and watershed management throughout the West, including the last fourteen years in the Northern Rockies. His work in fire and post-fire response includes over forty incidents as BAER team leader, BAER hydrologist, and resource advisor. He has also served as an instructor at numerous regional and national post-fire technical trainings.

Cara Farr is the National Burned Area Emergency Response Coordinator for the USDA Forest Service. Cara has spent the past 15 years working as a soil scientist for multiple federal land management agencies across the US, including as the regional soil scientist and BAER coordinator for the FS Pacific Northwest Region prior to accepting the national BAER position. She is a second-generation soil scientist and therefore protecting and serving the land is her blood.

Jason Kean is a research hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey. His research focuses on post-fire debris-flow processes and hazards. This research seeks to answer the post-fire questions: Where will debris flows occur? How much rain will it take to cause a problem? How big will they be? How far will they travel? and How long will the hazard persist?

Jeremy Lancaster, PG, CEG, is the program manager for the California Geological Survey’s Geologic and Landslides Mapping Program. Jeremy has authored several peer reviewed publications on the topic of debris flow hazards and alluvial fan debris flow events and is the State of California’s coordinator for landslide event response. Jeremy acts as a scientific advisor to other state agencies and the Floodplain Management Association, and has led numerous post-wildfire emergency response teams and was the team lead during the Thomas Fire and subsequent debris flow disaster on January 9, 2018 in Santa Barbara County, California. Jeremy’s research interest include Quaternary geology, geomorphology and landslide hazards, where results can be used by applied science professionals.

Don Lindsay, PG, CEG, PE, GE, Forest and Watershed Geology program, California Geological Survey (CGS).  Don performs post-fire assessments as a co-lead on state Watershed Emergency Response Teams (WERT) throughout California and post-fire monitoring in collaboration with scientists from the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) and the University of Nevada at Reno (UNR).  Don and his colleagues have conducted specialized, post-fire debris flow hazard assessments in Santa Barbara and Riverside Counties and have worked closely with local government agencies to develop emergency response programs tailored to specific hazard areas identified in these assessments.  Don is CGS’s practice lead on landslide and post-wildfire hazards in northern California. 

Brendan P. Murphy, PhD, is currently a Research Scientist, Dept. of Watershed Sciences, Utah State University, this summer he will move to Simon Fraser University, as Assistant Professor, School of Environmental Science. Brendan’s research focuses on understanding the physical and coupled ecological dynamics of river systems, including studies of climatic controls on landscape evolution, watershed-scale sediment dynamics after wildfire, and modeling ecological response to physical habitat disturbance. His work has been published in journals such as Nature, Geology, and Earth’s Future and featured widely in the news media. Brendan is currently a Principal Investigator on federally funded projects developing models to evaluate post-wildfire erosion and sedimentation risks to water resource infrastructure and aquatic ecosystems in western watersheds.

Sheila Murphy is a Research Hydrologist with the USGS Water Mission Area in Boulder, Colorado. Sheila’s work has focused on how disturbances (such as wildfire, floods, hurricanes, land use change) alter watershed response, water quality, and water quantity. Her work assessing critical drivers of post-fire water-quality impairment is helping USGS advance prediction of water availability impacts by extreme events.

Laura Myers, Ph.D. (Criminology), is Director and Senior Research Scientist for the Center for Advanced Public Safety at The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.  Dr. Myers has conducted multiple studies and service assessments about public behavior and emergency response networks regarding various disaster events, such as the public’s response to severe weather and hurricane events and how to convey warning information in extreme events. Dr. Myers has evaluated disaster and emergency warning modalities, including NOAA Weather Radio, mobile apps, alert notification systems, WEA alerts, sirens, and other tools to determine how they function and how they can be refined to produce better warning dissemination.

Nina Oakley, Ph.D., is a research scientist at the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. Nina’s background is in meteorology and climatology. She studies drivers and impacts of extreme precipitation, primarily focused on California and the western US. She is also interested in facilitating the transition of research in the atmospheric community to use by operational entities.

Pete Robichaud is a Research Engineer with the Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station in Moscow, Idaho. Pete studies and models soil erosion as affected by wildfires. His field research includes plot-scale infiltration, erodibility studies, paired watershed studies and large-scale remote sensing projects. He is an international leader in postfire hydrology effects, monitoring techniques and erosion modeling. Pete has published over 200 scientific articles, one book, holds two patents and still spends his summers chasing wildfires and playing in the dirt.

Katherine Rowden is the Hydrology Program Manager for the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Western U.S.. Region. She works with the NWS field offices and a wide variety of stakeholders, supplying water resources data and forecasts; from floods to droughts to wildfires. Thanks to several years of large and record-breaking fire seasons in WA and ID (her home territory), and across the western US, her focus has shifted to post-wildfire flood and debris flow risk; from community outreach and education to working on Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Teams. She also leads the NWS’ Post-Wildfire Hydrology Working Group. She has B.S. in Civil Engineering and worked in the engineering field for several years prior to joining the National Weather Service. 

Rich Schwab is the national coordinator for post-fire programs for the National Park Service. He has over thirty-five years of experience in the federal government and has worked for the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The last fifteen years has been with the National Park Service. Rich works for the Branch of Wildland Fire out of the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho and is duty stationed in Washington D.C. He has been on BAER Team deployments on many fires of national significance over the last two decades.

Paul Steblein is the Wildland Fire Science Coordinator at the US Geological Survey working with about 150 scientists to produce essential information, data and tools used by decision makers before, during and after wildland fires. He has served for several years on the Governing Board for the Joint Fire Science Program. Paul has enjoyed tackling complex natural resource and land management issues for over 30 years from a variety of positions in the Department of the Interior, including Deputy Director of the DOI Office of Wildland Fire and a wide variety of field, regional, and national positions in the National Wildlife Refuge System. 

Troy Timmons, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Western Governors’ Association – Troy manages a portfolio that includes forestry and wildfire, high-level nuclear waste and health issues.  The Colorado native joined WGA in 2015.  He has extensive experience in the political arena, working as a Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy, a Professional Staff Member with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Legislative Director in the personal office of a House Member.  He has also spent time managing environmental remediation work at several Department of Energy sites, including the cleanup of the former Rocky Flats Plant, part of the Nation’s nuclear weapons production complex.  Troy is a graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois.

Mike Zupko is Principal of Zup Co., Inc., a natural resource and sportsmen’s consulting firm.  Currently, he represents the Wildland Fire Leadership Council, an intergovernmental committee of federal, state, tribal and local officials convened by the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, Defense and Homeland Security dedicated to consistent implementation of wildland fire policies, goals and management activities.  He reports directly to the Undersecretary of Agriculture and the Assistant Secretary of Interior.  Mike, his wife Susan and two great children enjoy time outdoors and are active members of the Monroe First Baptist Church in Monroe, Georgia, where Mike serves as a deacon.