US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Charles W. McHugh

Fire Spatial Analyst
5775 Highway 10 West
United States

Phone: 406-329-4800
Fax: 406-329-4877
Contact Charles W. McHugh

Current Research

Current research is focused in the following areas of interest:

  • Mountain Pine Beetle mortality and the effect on fire behavior.
  • Climate change and its effect on fire danger and fire occurrence.
  • Trends and use of large air tankers in fire suppression.
  • Landscape level fuels treatment and their effect on changing fire spread and fire behavior.
  • Historical burn probabilities and fire return intervals compared to contemporary burn rates across the US.
  • I am also heavily involved in technology transfer and training of wildland fire managers in the use of appliacations developed at the Fire Lab.
  • Research Interests

    My research focuses on fire behavior, bark beetle fire interactions, fire effects, fuel treatment and fuel treatment effectiveness, and fire simulation modeling. A major concern is how are all of these topic areas affected long-term due to climate change and a corresponding change to the wildland fuels complex. The next step is to investigate how we can better account for these changes and incorporate them into our existing fire behavior models and modeling systems.

    Past Research

    The research projects I am involved in are critical for policy makers and wildland fire managers. Providing information to and working directly with fire managers is a critical aspect of science. The results of these efforts can provide baseline information as well as indications of the magnitude of change required by policy makers and mangers allowing them make to informed decisions. Additionally, information regarding changes in fire behavior and fuels can assist wildland fire managers in making the appropriate strategic and tactical decisions regarding fire suppression and management.

    Why This Research is Important

    My past research has focused on post-fire tree mortality and fire effects. This work also examined the role of post-fire insect attacks and their contribution to post-fire tree mortality. Other research has focused on landscape level fuel treatment effectiveness, fire suppression and fire containment, fire occurrence records, and assisting in the development of fire simulation tools. I was also involved in the development of the comprehensive risk analysis framework for wildland fire and fuels management for the Cohesive Strategy as a member of the Science Team.


    • Utah State University, Logan, UT, B.S. Forestry/Forest Biology 1985
    • Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, M.S. Fire Ecology 2001

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    Last updated on : 09/23/2020