US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Dr. Russell A. Parsons

Russell A. Parsons

Research Ecologist
5775 Highway 10 West
United States

Phone: 406-329-4800
Fax: 406-329-4877
Contact Russell A. Parsons

Current Research

My current research concentrates on fuel/fire interactions in altered fuel conditions such as beetle kill fuels or other fuels affected by insects or pathogens, and fundamental fire dynamics, particularly with respect to the influence of fuel heterogeneity on fire behavior.

Research Interests

My research interests fall into four general categories: 1) fuel/fire interactions 2) fuel modeling 3) fuel dynamics and 4) fundamental fire behavior. My research integrates field work, laboratory studies, and simulation modeling, with an emphasis on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models.

Past Research

Most people are familiar with the fire behavior triangle, in which fuel, weather and topography interact to influence fire behavior outcomes. Of these, the only part of the triangle that we can manipulate is fuels. My research is important because it provides fundamental understanding about how fuels influence fire behavior. My work offers managers quantitative guidance regarding how different fuel treatments might affect fire behavior, how fuel changes (such as pine beetle attacks) affect fire hazard and risk, and helps to elucidate the best solutions to the complex problems that fire and natural resource managers face in today's complex world.

Why This Research is Important

My past research has focused on characterising interactions of fire and vegetation at landscape scales over long time periods, primarily via simulation modeling. This big picture landscape perspective is useful as a context to the more detailed field, lab and simulation work I am currently involved in.


  • University of Montana, Ph.D. Forestry 2007
  • University of Idaho, Moscow, M.S. Forest Resources 1999
  • University of California, Berkeley, B.S. Forestry 1992

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Research Highlights


Decreasing number of rainy days in summer has increased western wildfire

New research shows that significant declines in summer precipitation, and lengthening summer dry spells, are major drivers of the increase in fi ...


Last updated on : 06/30/2021