Picture of Alaska 2018
Stacy Drury

Research Fire Ecologist
1731 Research Park Dr.
Davis, CA 95618-6132

current research

My current research projects include:
1) Identifying the drivers of fire severity in the Klamath Mountains.
2) Investigating tree mortality due to drought, bark beetle outbreaks, mechanical thinning, and prescribed burning in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains.
3) Comparing and predicting the ecological effect of fall verses spring burning in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains.
4) Fire Behavior modeling in the 2019 Kincade Fire.
5) Development of the FireBuster fire weather forecasting system.

research interest

My current research is focused on producing science that supports reintroducing fire and restoring fire resilency to California Landscapes within the context of a warming climate. I continue to do research on when, where and how to conduct prescribed burns and to evaluate the ecological and fire mitigation potentials of installing mechanical fuel treatments. However, I am convinced that to reduce what has been referred to as the "fire deficiet" in California we need to take advantage of those unplanned ignitions that occur when the combination of physical, biological, and meterological conditions support managing wildfire for ecological benefit or to meet a resource management need. In that context I have focused all ongoing work on identifying the conditions to support managing wildfire for resource management benefit with the end goal of restoring fire to a more natural role in our fire-prone landscapes.

past research

I have studied fire ecology throughout North America from Alaska to Brasil. I have studied fire behavior, fuel consumption and fire ecology in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Montana, and most recently on the Stanislaus Tuolumne Experimental Forest in Californa. I identified fire history and fire regime trends in Ohio Oak Hickory Forests, black and white spruce forests in Alaska, and the pine-oak forests in the Sierra Nevada Madre Occidental of Western Mexico. From 2009 until 2016 I was the science lead and subject matter expert on the Interagency Fuels Treatment Decision Support System (IFTDSS). With IFTDSS, I worked directly with fire and fuels specialist to prioritize what science to include and with software engineers to ensure that the science and tools were applied correctly. I have helped update and create spatial fuel model maps for modeling fire behavior and created a system for presenting and evaluating modeled weather forecasts. I consistently strive to provide sound science and tools that land managers can use to support decision making.


  • University of Colorado Boulder Fire History, Fire Ecology, Land use change and fire occurrence Ph.D. Ecology 2006
  • Wright State University Forest succession in eastern deciduous forests, Post-land abandonment forest development Master Of Science 1996
  • Western Washington University Terrestrial Ecology, Fire Ecology, Plant Ecology B.S. Biology 1991

Professional Experience

  • Sonoma Technology Inc. (STi)
    Senior Fire Ecologist
    2009 - 2016
    At STI I was the lead fire scientist on the JFSP sponsored Interagency Fuels Treatment Decision Support System (IFTDSS), an online fire modeling and data management framework currently maintained by the Wildland Fire Research Development and Applications group at NIFC. IFTDSS makes fire behavior and fire effects modeling tools more accessible to resource managers. I designed processes for using existing fire behavior and fire effects modeling tools to meet fuels treatment planning needs within IFTDSS and conducted regular training workshops and webinars. Other project included a JFSP-funded Fire Weather Accuracy project and a NASA-funded project titled "Automated Fuels Treatment Effectiveness Evaluation with Remote Sensing (AFTEERS). The fire weather accuracy system acquired observed and forecasted weather data, automatically assessed the accuracy of weather forecasts, and used accuracy assessments to suggest forecast corrections. AFTEERS was a prototype process to evaluate fuels treatment effectiveness remotely, using NASA satellite imagery and associated data products.
  • USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station Missoula Fire Lab
    2007 - 2009
    Projects included the FIREHARM project where I created land cover grids for the Ecosystem Management Decision Support system. LANDFIRE data grids were used as input to the fire research model FIREHARM to create spatial coverages of tree attribute data (treelists), predict fire effects, and predict fire behavior. These land cover grids were then input into the EMDS logic model to produce a spatially explicit decision support matrix for making land management decisions. We used FIREMON (fire effects monitoring and inventory protocols) to field sample fire effects from 2007 wildfires and compared observations with FIREHARM predictions to test the efficacy of model outputs. Additional projects included FLEAT (Fire and Landscape Ecology Assessment Tool) and FIRESEV. For FLEAT, I helped collect field data on fire effects and vegetation responses to wildfire within a range of historic burn perimeters for comparison with modeled outputs. For FIRESEV, I helped write the successful bid for the Joint Fire Science Program grant to produce a series of potential fire severity models and digital maps for use by fire planners.

Featured Publications & Products


Other Publications

  • Drury, S.A.; Runkle, J.R. 2006. Forest vegetation change in southeast Ohio: Do older forests serve as useful models for predicting the successional trajectory of future forests? Forest Ecology and Management. 223(1-3): 200-210. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2005.11.001.



  • Drury, Stacy A.; Rauscher, H. Michael; Banwell, Erin M.; Huang, ShihMing; Lavezzo, Tami L. 2016. The interagency fuels treatment decision support system: functionality for fuels treatment planning. Fire Ecology. 12(1): 103-123. https://doi.org/10.4996/fireecology.1201103.



R&D Affiliations

Priority Research Areas

  • Climate Change
  • Forest Disturbances