Do you remember the commercials with Smokey Bear in his park ranger hat saying, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires?” Well, in addition to taking personal responsibility when you’re out camping in the woods, you could take it a step further and pursue an online degree in Fire Ecology and Management from the University of Idaho.
The University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources has helped preserve the wooded mountains of the Pacific Northwest for the past 30 years through its leadership in wildland fire education and research. The school offers more fire-focused courses than any other school in the country, and it’s the only US school to offer a B.S. degree that focuses on wildland fire. The fire program includes over 40 undergraduates, 30 graduate students, and 20 faculty members. The Fire Ecology and Management program shares faculty with UI’s Forest Resources and Rangeland Ecology and Management departments.
A first-year undergraduate student in the Fire Ecology and Management program can expect to take these classes: Introductory Chemistry, Introductory English, Exploring Natural Resources, Core Discovery I & II, Introductory Math, and Physics. Higher level courses promote collaborative efforts with fire scientists.
Of the 128 credit hours required for degree completion, here is a sampling of classes that are included in the program:
- Exploring Natural Resources
- Remote Sensing of Active Fire and Post Fire Effects
- Public Relations for Natural Resource Professionals
- Cells and the Evolution of Life
- Interdisciplinary Natural Resource Planning
- Diseases and Insects of Woody Plants
- Forest Measurements & Inventory
Throughout the program, students learn skills such as assessing potential fire hazards, understanding principles of fire ignition, and developing fuels-management practices for the protection of both people and property. Students will also receive practice in developing proposals for various types of burns as well as evaluations of the ecological effects of a fire on as well as potential consequences pertaining to wildlife. They will also gain experience as firefighters or fire managers. Students who complete the Fire program are equipped to lead in areas such as fuels management, fire prevention, fire suppression, and fire management.
The University of Idaho’s Fire program prepares students for careers as forestry or range technicians, forest hydrologists, and natural resources policy specialists, to name a few. Potential employers include the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the Idaho Department of Lands, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
To learn more about this unique online degree, visit the program’s website.