Dr. David Calkin

2023 Ember Award
Dr. Calkin’s contributions to the wildland fire community have markedly improved real-world decision-making. His work has served to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and safety of the wildland fire management system. He was an original co-developer of the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS) in the United States. This system has become the single most important wildland fire decision support system and most comprehensive record for large and complex wildfires in the US. He developed and is the leader of the Wildfire Risk Management Science Team within the Human Dimensions Program of the Rocky Mountain Research Station. He and his team have assisted in the development of Potential Operational Delineations (PODs) that better promote cross-boundary strategic pre-fire planning and next-generation fire analytics including Suppression Difficulty Index, Potential Control Locations, and Snag Hazard. He played a pivotal role in the development and application of the US Forest Service Risk Management Assistance Program which has grown to include an online dashboard with prepositioned analytics that provide risk-based, structured decision-making tools to Incident Management Teams. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he was key in assessing risks and developing mitigation measures for wildland fire response functions. Dr. David Calkin is a leader in wildland fire risk management and his career contributions to date have positively influenced and advanced the wildland fire management system.