UM Fire Science Professor Honored With Lifetime Achievement Award

May 28, 2014

MISSOULA – University of Montana College of Forestry and Conservation fire science Professor Ron Wakimoto recently received the Biswell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Fire Ecology.

The award, named for fire ecologist Harold Biswell, was given during the AFE’s Large Wildland Fires conference, held May 19-23 in Missoula. The AFE gives up to three lifetime achievement awards each year to individuals who have made a significant contribution to fire ecology and management in the U.S. and have inspired and mentored a generation of fire ecologists.

Wakimoto was one of three doctoral students who studied under Professor Biswell at the University of California, Berkeley, who have received the honor. Wakimoto has a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from Berkeley and has taught at UM since 1982.

Wakimoto began his teaching career at Berkeley in 1976. While at the UM College of Forestry and Conservation, he has taught courses in wildland fire management, fuel management and fire ecology. He was chair of the Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences from 2005 to 2011.

Wakimoto served on the National Fire Policy Review team following the Yellowstone National Park fires in 1988 and has testified to the U.S. Congress on fire policy.

In 2004, Wakimoto was elected a fellow by the Society of American Foresters. He served the SAF from 1990 to 1994 as chair for student affairs and currently is a member of the committee on accreditation.

Since 2006, Wakimoto has led international efforts to train Bhutanese foresters and provided fire training to more than 200 Bhutanese forest managers and volunteers.

Biswell, a longtime faculty member at Berkeley, was one of the first fire scientists to highlight the important role of fire in healthy forest ecosystems and pioneered the use of controlled burns.

For more information call Leana Schelvan, director of communications for the UM College of Forestry and Conservation, at 406-243-6693 or email




Contact: Leana Schelvan, director of communications, UM College of Forestry and Conservation, 406-243-6693,