Humboldt State University has once again received recertification for its contribution to the study of fire ecology. HSU joins only eight other universities in the country in receiving the AFE certification for contributing to the field of fire ecology.
After conducting an external and independent review, the AFE named HSU as a Certified Academic Program in 2019. Housed within the Forestry & Wildland Resources department, the Wildland Fire & Management concentration previously earned the AFE certification in 2013.
“We have one of the largest programs in the nation and offer more fire-related courses than nearly any other university,” says Jeffrey Kane, professor of Forestry. Kane teaches a range of fire ecology and management courses to undergraduate and graduate students and was chiefly responsible for submitting HSU’s application for resubmission.
“The breadth of our program enables us to provide a substantive number of qualified students to enter the fire profession, both in California, and beyond,” explains Kane.
The AFE particularly applauded HSU for the exposure to fire ecology and management that the university provides to students. Kane explains that the HSU Wildland Fire Lab is only one of three universities in the country with an indoor burning lab. “Students get to learn about fire by actively watching it and performing experiments to reinforce concepts,” says Kane.
In addition, HSU students participate in prescribed burns through training and partnerships with local organizations and agencies. This semester, students enrolled in a Wildland Fire Behavior course are working with the Karuk tribe and Mid-Klamath Watershed Council to collect fuel before and after prescribed burns. “This type of data is important but often not collected due to funding and personnel limitations,” explains Kane.
Overall, HSU offers five types of programs that include the study of fire: an undergraduate Wildland Fire Management concentration, a campus-wide Fire Ecology minor, and a graduate program.
With the recertification award, the AFE Board of Directors noted that HSU offers a solid educational foundation in fire ecology, coupled with experiential learning and reflection.
The AFE certification is valid for five years. In 2024, HSU will again be invited to apply for evaluation of its impact and effectiveness in the complex field of fire ecology.