PANEL: NATIONAL WILDFIRE IMPACTS/SOLUTIONS
Topic: What public and private sectors need to know, historical perspective, fire management/response, impacts of climate change, potential suggestions and solutions
Alex Hoon, National Weather Service Reno Incident Meteorologist
Alex graduated from Texas A&M University, served in the U.S. Air Force as a weather officer, then joined the National Weather Service in Reno. His passion is fire weather, the impact of weather events in causing extreme fire behavior, and providing on-site decision support to fire leadership and personnel. Alex has been an Incident Meteorologist for 8 years, deploying to numerous large notable wildfires across the Western States, including the 2011 Wallow Fire in Arizona (largest wildfire in Arizona history), the 2013 Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park, and most recently the 2018 Carr Fire that burned over 1000 homes around Redding, California. Alex also serves as the Fire Weather Program Manager for the Eastern Sierra, Lake Tahoe, and western Nevada region.
Matt Mehle, National Weather Service San Francisco Bay Area Incident Meteorologist
Matt enjoys the many aspects of weather forecasting, but has a true passion for fire weather. Over the last 10 years as an Incident Meteorologist, he has been deployed to numerous disasters providing on-site weather to first responders and incident personnel. Some of the more notable deployments include the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and several of California’s largest wildfires. Most recently, Matt was the on-site meteorologist deployed to the most destructive wildfire in California’s history, the Tubbs Fire. Over the course of his career, Matt has received numerous awards and accolades for his role as Incident Meteorologist. In addition to forecasting the weather, Matt is also a fire weather instructor teaching wildland firefighters basic meteorology and how weather influences the wildland fire environment.
Michael Reid, Aviation Safety Officer and Air Safety Investigator for the Washington Office of the United States Forest Service (USFS)
Nearly 25 years combined as a firefighter specializing in aviation has helped Michaal Reid excel in his current position as an Aviation Safety Officer and Air Safety Investigator for the Washington Office of the United States Forest Service (USFS) in Boise Idaho.
Michael grew up the son of a Forest Ranger. In his youth he gained an appreciation for the outdoors and everything Mother Nature had to offer while walking in his father’s footsteps scouting the timbered landscape of Northern Arizona near Flagstaff. Later in life, while attending the University of Utah chasing a medical degree, Michael was reminded of his love for the great outdoors. Changing course, he went back to his roots and became a wildland firefighter. Since that time, Michael has been “boots on the ground” working on hand crews, operating engines and attacking fires from helicopters. He has worked for State Fire, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Office of Aviation Services and the USFS at all levels in their joint mission to manage the fire landscape.
Michael is an expert at identifying and mitigating risk associated with firefighting operations. He is an accomplished and well-respected leader in aviation operations. Highly regarded for his efforts in training and mentoring a new generation of firefighters, Michael is known for being a passionate and excellent communicator.
Chris Anthony, Division Chief for CAL FIRE Amador-El Dorado Unit East Division Operations
Chris Anthony earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry from the University of California Berkeley. During his tenure at UC Berkeley, he also studied resource management at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Chris considers his 23-year career with CAL FIRE as more of a calling than a job. He has worked in disciplines ranging from forest management, firefighter training and safety, law enforcement, fire investigation, administration, and fire suppression operations. In 2015 Chris was appointed as the Deputy Task Force Leader for the Governor’s Tree Mortality Task Force; helping to lead an effort of over 80 federal, state and local entities in response to the Governor’s Emergency Proclamation to address the massive tree die off in the Sierra Nevada. He currently serves as a working group leader on the Governor’s Forest Management Task Force; a task force formed to address threats and find solutions to how a changing climate is affecting the State’s forests.
Chris often works with the media during major fires in order to provide a firefighter’s perspective on how weather and climate influence the fire environment. Chris is also a Serious Accident Review Team Lead Investigator. In 2005 he was honored to respond as part of a CAL FIRE Task Force to assist the State of Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Chris is a Registered Professional Forester and Peace Officer with the State of California. He lives in South Lake Tahoe with his family and enjoys all the recreational opportunities the area affords.