We are here to help you connect with fire managers, practitioners, and scientists working in your area. We have access to the best fire science, information, and tools. We're ready to demonstrate new knowledge in the field, and much more! CAFMS is organized by a small team, but our organization includes all of our members - fire managers, researchers, and anyone interested in fire like you!
Todd grew up in Detroit, MI and Louisville, KY. He earned a bachelor's in biology from the University of Louisville. After completing a master's in plant ecology at the University of Miami, OH, Todd joined the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Forest Service Experiment Station, in 1994, to contribute to a research project on the reintroduction of presecribed fire in oak forests in Appalachian Ohio. In 2004, he earned a Ph.D. in ecology from the Ohio State University. Currently, Todd is a Research Ecologist with the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, and is located in Delaware, OH. Todd has conducted research on the effects of controlled burns on stand dynamics, tree regeneration, and understory plant communities in mixed-oak forests. He joined the CAFMS team as PI in 2016.
Helen grew up in Seneca, SC and attended Clemson University for her bachelor's and master's degrees in Forest Resource Management. After graduation, she started working with the Forest Service Southern Research Station as a Forester. She worked alongside Tom Waldrop for most of her career and helped to build the Consortium to what it is today. She has assisted and led many studies associated with prescribed fire and wildfire in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Helen became the director of CAFMS in 2009
CAFMS Users' Board
Our Users' Board consists of CAFMS members that advise our activities and help us connect with members throughout the region. Click on their pictures below to get more information about each board member.
Adam is an Assistant Professor of Forest Fire Ecology and Management at Virginia Tech. He maintains an active research program focused primarily on fire ecology in the eastern US. This includes elements of fire behavior, fuels, fire effects, silviculture, and restoration ecology.
Ben is the President/CEO of the Ruffed Grouse & American Woodcock Society. His fire work began on the Homochitto National Forest investigating effects of prescribed fire on wild turkey habitat. He is currently interested in the effects of habitat restoration in reducing West Nile Virus in ruffed grouse.
Beth is the Regional Fire Ecologist for Region 8 of the US Forest Service. She is located in Virginia but works with forests across the 13-state Southern Region as well as with federal, state, NGO, and university partners. She is co-lead of the Southern Blue Ridge Fire Learning Network. She also oversees the Region 8 fire effects monitoring program and encourages managers to work together to compile data across unit boundaries in order to show successful adaptively-managed fire programs.
Don is an Associate Professor in the Forestry Program at Clemson University, where he teaches courses and conducts applied research. His research program addresses how fires influence population, community, and ecosystem-level processes in southern Appalachian forests. Current research projects are supported by the Joint Fire Science Program, the US Forest Service, and the National Park Service.
Melissa is a Research Forester at the USFS Timber and Watershed Laboratory. Her research includes stand and landscape-level projects focused on restoration and sustainable management of forests in the eastern US. These projects include investigating the role of fire in oak forests, using witness trees to understand historical forest conditions, restoration of red spruce forests, and restoration of American chestnut. Melissa lives in Elkins WV with her husband, Doug and one very spoiled dog.
Ryan has worked for the NC Wildlife Resources Commission for more than 20 years and is currently Mountain Eco-region Supervisor for the Land and Water Access Division. He manages operations of Game Lands and boating/fishing access areas. In his former roles, Ryan conducted prescribed burns and oversaw forest habitat improvement projects. He also assisted several research projects focused on fire effects on wildlife habitat and ecosystem restoration in the Southern Appalachians.
Sam began his career with TNC in 1995 and joined the Virginia chapter the following year, serving as land steward until 2002. He then spent five years with TNC's global fire initiative, leading fire training for partners and staff across the organization. In 2022, Sam assumed the role of Director of Landscape conservation for the chapter, facilitating knowledge exchange across VA's landscapes and cross-boundary conservation teams, fostering collaboration to achieve conservation outcomes.
Tara is a research forester with the USDA Forest Service's Southern Research Station. Her research focuses on methods to regenerate and restore oak in upland hardwood ecosystems and the effects of burning on southern US forests. You can find more information about her background, research interests, and publications using the link below.