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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Jane K. Smith

5775 Highway 10 West
United States

Phone: 406-329-4805
Contact Jane K. Smith

Current Research

  • Synthesizing scientific knowledge for managers in fire and related natural resources
  • Providing easily accessible, science-based, well documented syntheses of information on fire effects and fire regimes to managers, scientists and the public, mainly through the Fire Effects Information System (FEIS)
  • Providing engaging curriculum and materials for teaching students and the public about wildland fire science

Research Interests

Focus is on improving content and accessibility of fire science products:

  • Improve content of Fire Effects Information System and increase search capabilities of hosting website.
  • Develop guidelines for synthesizing science information for managers
  • Develop, test, and implement curriculum and materials teaching students about wildland fire science

Past Research

  • Invasive plants in the Fire Effects Information System
  • Knowledge gaps regarding fire and invasive plants
  • Curriculum and materials for hands-on learning about wildland fire science
  • Effectiveness of hands-on learning about wildland fire science

Why This Research is Important

To manage wildlands effectively, wildland managers at all levels, from federal to private land owners, need to understand fire's role in local ecosystems and the adaptations of local plants and animals to fire. The Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) provides this information in an easily accessible, online format, for more than 1,100 species. FEIS also provides information on historical fire regimes in ecosystems of the United States and how changes in fuels and climate may be changing fire regimes.

Fire behavior and ecology are topics that appeal to students of many ages, so educational programs featuring these topics draw students into the study of science, helping them develop into more science-literate adults and contributing to development of the next generation of firewise citizens and land managers.

The results of fire science research are complex and often seem contradictory. Managers use syntheses to help them locate, interpret, and apply research to specific, local management issues. My General Technical Report provides guidelines on how to write, publish, and distribute syntheses that will be useful for managers in fire and related natural resource fields.


  • Alverno College, Milwaukee, WI, B.A. English 1971
  • Alverno College, Milwaukee, WI, B.A. Speech 1971
  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins, M.S. Forest Ecology with emphasis on fire behavior and fire effects in aspen groves in Colorado�s Front Range. 1983

Professional Experience

  • Ecologist, Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, USDA FS Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula, MT
    1994 - Current
    Managing Fire Effects Information System. Developing, piloting, and implementing educational programs in the science of wildland fire. Developing methods and guidelines for synthesizing information for managers in fire and other natural resources.
  • Ecologist, Systems for Environmental Management, Missoula, MT
    1992 - 1994
    Researched and wrote synthesis for managers that describes historical fire regimes and postfire succession in ecosystems of northern Idaho.
  • Instructor, State University of New York, Fredonia
    1985 - 1991
    Courses taught: Biology, Biostatistics, Technical Writing. Research: Acidity in leaf drip from northeastern hardwood trees

Professional Organizations

  • Association for Fire Ecology (2006 - Current)
  • Society of American Foresters (SAF) (1980 - Current)
  • Association for Women in Science (1979 - Current)

Awards & Recognition

  • Conservation Education Career Achievement Award, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 2014
  • Interpreter and Conservation Educator of the Year, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 2012
    Development and implementation of FireWorks educational program.
  • Outstanding Publication Award, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 2009
    First comprehensive treatment of fire and nonnative invasive plants for the United States.
  • Professor of the Year, Student Support Services at State College of New York, Fredonia, 1991

Last updated on : 05/04/2016