Historical Perspectives on Climate, Fuels, Ignitions, and Wind in the Diversity of California Fire Regimes

Join the Nelson Institute’s Center for Ecology and the Environment as we welcome Jon Keeley, a senior scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey and adjunct professor at the University of California–Los Angeles, for an exciting discussion on wildfire trends in the United States.

Wildfires burning thousands of miles away have had major impacts on communities downwind, including Wisconsin. The damage caused by large fires worldwide has caused politicians and the general public to demand actions to prevent them. Essential to proposing actions, such as the widespread use of prescribed fire, is the basic understanding of the complex of environmental and social factors that create a regional fire regime.

Keeley will provide an analysis of the wildfire situation in California, calling upon his decades of field research across the state. He will explain that California has a fire regime driven by diverse and complex factors, and that fire activity is controlled by different drivers on different landscapes and they include fuel loads, fuel condition, ignitions and weather.

About Jon Keeley

Jon E. Keeley is senior research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, adjunct professor at the University of California–Los Angeles, research associate with the California Botanic Garden, former program director at the National Science Foundation, recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Ecological Society of America Fellow. He has spent sabbaticals in all five Mediterranean climate regions of the world. His research has focused on the evolution of fire-adaptive traits and ecological life history strategies of plants from fire-prone ecosystems.

He has investigated the role of smoke in fire-stimulated seed germination, invasive species driving vegetation type conversion, taxonomy of the genus Arctostaphylos, and biochemical pathways of photosynthesis in vernal pool plants. His current research focus is on global change impacts on fire regimes; parsing out the impact of global warming, past management practices and contemporary human impacts.

He has over 400 publications, which have garnered more than 35,000 citations. He is senior author of a 2012 Cambridge University Press book Fire in Mediterranean Climate Ecosystems: Ecology, Evolution and Management.


Apr 5 2024


5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

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Memorial Union, Multicultural Greek Council Room (4th Floor)


Alessandra Rella
(608) 265-0521