A JFSP Fire Science Exchange Network
Bringing People Together & Sharing Knowledge in the Northern Rockies

Clear Talk about Wild Fire

This workshop was designed to help fire managers, research scientists, and graduate students build skills and experience to effectively and accurately communicate fire-related information to the public and media. Core practical activities included crafting a wildfire information message and delivering this message in an interview, including peer and expert review. This workshop included activities appropriate for trainees working towards Public Information Officer (PIOF and PIO2) qualification. The workshop was coordinated by University of Montana faculty members Andrew Larson, Associate Professor of Forest Ecology, W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, and Nadia White, Director, Master's Program in Environmental Science and Natural Resource journalism.

Workshop instructors included:

  • Michael Kodas, Deputy Director, Center for Environmental Journalism, University of Colorado Boulder, and author of the 2017 book “Megafire: The Race to Extinguish a Deadly Epidemic of Flame”
  • Nathan Rott, Reporter, National Desk, National Public Radio
  • Sarah Coefield, Air Quality Specialist, Missoula City-County Health Department
  • Tim Love, Public Information Officer (PIO2) and District Ranger, US Forest Service (retired)
  • Phil Higuera, Associate Professor of Fire Ecology, University of Montana

Sponsored by the Northern Rockies Fire Science Network, this workshop was organized for the Fire Continuum Conference: Preparing for the Future of Wildland Fire, which was co-hosted by the Association for Fire Ecology and the International Association of Wildland Fire, May 21-25, 2018. 

Workshop Resources

Workshop Agenda

Wildfire Communications Tools and Templates

COMPASS Message Box

Presentation: All Smoke, No Mirrors - Sarah Coefield

Presentation: Communication Responsibilities (scientist's perspective) - Phil Higuera

Presentation: Willdfire Communication (journalist's perspective) - Michael Kodas

Presentation: So You Drew the Short Straw...(NPR journalist's perspective) - Nathan Rott

Media Guide for Scientists: Before the Inteview

Media Guide for Scientists: During the Interview

Media Guide for Scientists: After the Interview

Questions for Small Group Activity


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