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Forest & Fire Learning Series: Forest Health 101: Forests, Fire, and Smoke

  • Powerhouse Science Center 1333 Camino Del Rio Durango, CO, 81301 United States (map)

As we begin the water year with below-average precipitation and above-average temperatures, community concerns around forest health are growing, and land managers may be faced with significant challenges including wildfire, prescribed fire, insect infestation, diminished water quality and smoke. To address community concerns, foster understanding, and promote innovative collaboration between local land managers, we will offer a three-part learning series. Over three nights, we will guide the discussions from an introduction to local forest health, to current conditions and the local managers that address them, to the changes that may shape our future forests.

Arrive early for refreshments.


Discussion Topics

March 21:  Forest Health 101: Forests, Fire, and Smoke

The series will kick off with a presentation and short film on the foundational concepts and ecology of forest health in Southwest Colorado. With an introduction to key terms and players in hand, a visiting expert will delve into her research on the science, impacts, and management of smoke.

-        Dr. Julie Korb, Biology Professor, Fort Lewis College

-        Dr. Kelley Barsanti, Chemical and Environmental Engineering Professor, UC Riverside


April 4: The Who’s Who of Forests and Fire

This second night will focus on the current conditions of our forests, from drought to insect infestation, and how they impact the risk of fire. This assessment of current conditions will lead to a broader dialogue about fire on the landscape, both prescribed and wild, from people making the decisions about how both should be handled.

-        Ashely Downing or Charlie Landsman, FireWise

-        Jimbo Buickerood, San Juan Citizens Alliance

-        Butch Knowlton, La Plata County Emergency Management

-        Kent Grant, Colorado State Forest Service

-        Matt Janowiak, San Juan National Forest


April 18: Future Forest Changes and Challenges

To close the series, we will direct the conversation to the future of our forests and the innovative ways we hope to adapt to known and unknown changes. We hope this panel will touch on new collaborative management strategies, shifting forest ecologies, and economic opportunities that may improve the future of our forests.

-        Kara Chadwick, San Juan National Forest

-        JR Ford, Forest Health Company

-        Jimbo Buickerood, San Juan Citizens Alliance

-        Jason Lawhon, The Nature Conservancy*

-        Dan West, Colorado National Forest Service*

* Tentative


Thank you to the supporters from the Colorado State Forest Service, FireWise, and Powerhouse Science Center.


For more details, contact Laurel.