First National Legacy Award presented to FS retiree

Dr. Jack Cohen received the first National Legacy Award given by the Forest Service, National Association of State Foresters, National Fire Protection Association, and International Association of Fire Chiefs in recognition of outstanding career-long contributions to wildfire mitigation as an alternative to suppression.

Cohen helped develop the U.S. National Fire Danger Rating System and developed calculations for wildland firefighters’ safe zones; created defensible space principles, which resulted in the Firewise program; the Home Ignition Zone; and conducted research on ember ignitions and structure ignitability. His research laid the groundwork for nearly all the wildland urban interface risk reduction work today.

Until his 2016 retirement, he was a research scientist at Missoula Technology and Development Center. The award was presented at the IAFC WUI Conference in Reno, Nevada.