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Alan Ager

Alan Ager

Research Forester

72510 Coyote Road
Pendleton, OR 97801
Contact Alan Ager

Current Research

Landscape disturbance-management interactions, forest management scenario modeling, socioeconomic and ecological tradeoffs in forest restoration, variability and uncertainty in future fire regimes


  • University of Washington, Ph.D., Forest Genetics, 1987
  • University of Wisconsin - Madison, M.S., Genetics, 1982
  • University of Washington, B.S. Forest Science, Forest Science, Forest Management, 1978
  • Awards

    USDA Forest Service Chief's Award, 2020
    Development and application of the fireshed registry and scenario planning tools
    USDA Undersecretary's Honor Award, 2020
    Development and application of the fireshed registry and scenario planning tools
    USDA Forest Service Chief's award, 2019
    Science contributions to the Forest Service Shared Stewardship Initiative. Presented by Chief Vickie Christiansen.
    USDA Secretary's Honor Award, 2019
    Science contributions to the Forest Service Shared Stewardship Initiative Presented by Secretary Sonny Perdue.
    Outstanding Performance Award, 2019
    Commitment to agency initiatives and innovative solutions are of high impac, presented by Sara Brown, Program Manager, Fire, Fuels and Smoke, Missoula Fire Science Lab.
    Certificate of Appreciation, USDA Office of the Secretary, 2019
    In recognition of your participation in USDA s 2019 Agricultural Outlook forum, Growing locally, selling globally . Presented by Under Secretary James Hubbard.
    Certificate of Merit and Outstanding Performance Award, 2018
    In appreciation of your scenario investment planning tool and fireshed concepts

    Featured Publications


    Day, Michelle A.; Houtman, Rachel M.; Belavenutti, Pedro; Ringo, Chris; Ager, Alan; Bassett, Steve, 2021. An assessment of forest and woodland restoration priorities to address wildfire risk in New Mexico
    Salis, Michele; Arca, Bachisio; Del Giudice, Liliana; Palaiologou, Palaiologos; Alcasena-Urdiroz, Fermin; Ager, Alan; Fiori, Michele; Pellizzaro, Grazia; Scarpa, Carla; Schirru, Matilde; Ventura, Andrea; Casula, Marcello; Duce, Pierpaolo, 2021. Application of simulation modeling for wildfire exposure and transmission assessment in Sardinia, Italy
    Alcasena, Fermin; Ager, Alan; Le Page, Yannick; Bessa, Paulo; Loureiro, Carlos; Oliveira, Tiago, 2021. Assessing Wildfire Exposure to Communities and Protected Areas in Portugal
    Ager, Alan; Day, Michelle A.; Waltz, Amy; Nigrelli, Mark; Vogler, Kevin C.; Lata, Mary, 2021. Balancing ecological and economic objectives in restoration of fire-adapted forests: Case study from the Four Forest Restoration Initiative
    Barros, Ana M. G.; Day, Michelle A.; Preisler, Haiganoush K.; Abatzoglou, John T.; Krawchuk, Meg A.; Houtman, Rachel; Ager, Alan, 2021. Contrasting the role of human- and lightning-caused wildfires on future fire regimes on a Central Oregon landscape
    Ager, Alan; Day, Michelle A.; Ringo, Chris; Evers, Cody R.; Alcasena, Fermin J.; Houtman, Rachel M.; Scanlon, Michael; Ellersick, Tania, 2021. Development and application of the fireshed registry
    Barros, Ana M. G.; Day, Michelle A.; Spies, Thomas A.; Ager, Alan, 2021. Effects of ownership patterns on cross‑boundary wildfires
    Alcasena , Fermin; Rodrigues, Marcos; Gelabert, Pere; Ager, Alan; Salis, Michele; Ameztegui, Aitor; Cervera, Teresa; Vega-Garcia, Cristina, 2021. Fostering carbon credits to finance wildfire risk reduction forest management in Mediterranean landscapes
    Palaiologou, Palaiologos; Kalabokidis, Kostas; Troumbis, Andreas; Day, Michelle A.; Nielsen-Pincus, Max; Ager, Alan, 2021. Socio-ecological perceptions of wildfire management and effects in Greece
    Palaiologou, Palaiologos; Kalabokidis, Kostas; Ager, Alan; Galatsidas, Spyros; Papalampros, Lampros; Day, Michelle A., 2021. Spatial optimization and tradeoffs of alternative forest management scenarios in Macedonia, Greece
    Parisien, Marc-Andre; Ager, Alan; Barros, Ana M.; Dawe, Denyse; Erni, Sandy; Finney, Mark A.; McHugh, Charles W.; Miller, Carol L.; Parks, Sean A.; Riley, Karin; Short, Karen C.; Stockdale, Christopher A.; Wang, Xianli; Whitman, Ellen, 2020. Commentary on the article “Burn probability simulation and subsequent wildland fire activity in Alberta, Canada - Implications for risk assessment and strategic planning” by J. L. Beverly and N. McLoughlin
    Palaiologou, Palaiologos; Ager, Alan; Evers, Cody; Nielsen-Pincus, Max; Day, Michelle A., 2020. Demographic analysis of transboundary wildfire exposure in the Western U.S.
    Palaiologou, Palaiologos; Kalabokidis, Kostas; Ager, Alan; Day, Michelle A., 2020. Development of comprehensive fuel management strategies for reducing wildfire risk in Greece
    Ager, Alan; Barros, Ana M. G.; Houtman, Rachel; Seli, Rob; Day, Michelle A., 2020. Modelling the effect of accelerated forest management on long-term wildfire activity
    Palaiologou, Palaiologos; Kalabokidis, Kostas; Ager, Alan; Nielsen-Pincus, Max; Bailey, John; Xanthopoulos, Gavriil, 2020. Obstacles to improving wildfire risk governance in Greece
    Hamilton, Matthew; Fischer, Alexandra Paige; Ager, Alan, 2019. A social-ecological network approach for understanding wildfire risk governance
    Evers, Cody R.; Ager, Alan; Nielsen-Pincus, Max; Palaiologou, Palaiologos; Bunzel, Ken, 2019. Archetypes of community wildfire exposure from national forests of the western US
    Salis, Michele; Del Giudice, Liliana; Robichaud, Peter R.; Ager, Alan; Canu, Annalisa; Duce, Pierpaolo; Pellizzaro, Grazia; Ventura, Andrea; Alcasena-Urdiroz, Fermin; Spano, Donatella; Arca, Bachisio, 2019. Coupling wildfire spread and erosion models to quantify post-fire erosion before and after fuel treatments
    Ager, Alan; Day, Michelle A.; Palaiologou, Palaiologos; Houtman, Rachel M.; Ringo, Chris; Evers, Cody R., 2019. Cross-boundary wildfire and community exposure: A framework and application in the western U.S.
    Palaiologou, Palaiologos; Ager, Alan; Evers, Cody R.; Nielsen-Pincus, Max; Day, Michelle A.; Preisler, Haiganoush K., 2019. Fine-scale assessment of cross-boundary wildfire events in the western United States
    Palaiologou, Palaiologos; Ager, Alan; Nielsen-Pincus, Max; Evers, Cody R.; Day, Michelle A., 2019. Social vulnerability to large wildfires in the western USA
    Young, Jesse D.; Thode, Andrea E.; Huang, Ching-Hsun; Ager, Alan; Fule, Pete Z., 2019. Strategic application of wildland fire suppression in the southwestern United States
    Ager, Alan; Lasko, Richard; Myroniuk, Viktor; Zibtsev, Sergiy; Day, Michelle A.; Usenia, Uladzimir; Bogomolov, Vadym; Kovalets, Ivan; Evers, Cody R., 2019. The wildfire problem in areas contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster
    Alcasena, Fermin J.; Ager, Alan; Bailey, John D.; Pineda, Nicolau; Vega-Garcia, Cristina, 2019. Towards a comprehensive wildfire management strategy for Mediterranean areas: Framework development and implementation in Catalonia, Spain
    Ager, Alan; Houtman, Rachel M.; Day, Michelle A.; Ringo, Chris; Palaiologou, Palaiologos, 2019. Tradeoffs between US national forest harvest targets and fuel management to reduce wildfire transmission to the wildland urban interface
    Ager, Alan; Palaiologou, Palaiologos; Evers, Cody R.; Day, Michelle A.; Ringo, Chris; Short, Karen C., 2019. Wildfire exposure to the wildland urban interface in the western US
    Ager, Alan; Barros, Ana M. G.; Day, Michelle A.; Preisler, Haiganoush K.; Spies, Thomas A.; Bolte, John, 2018. Analyzing fine-scale spatiotemporal drivers of wildfire in a forest landscape model
    Alcasena, Fermin J.; Ager, Alan; Salis, Michele; Day, Michelle A.; Vega-Garcia, Cristina, 2018. Optimizing prescribed fire allocation for managing fire risk in central Catalonia
    Barros, Ana M. G.; Ager, Alan; Day, Michelle A.; Krawchuk, Meg A.; Spies, Thomas A., 2018. Wildfires managed for restoration enhance ecological resilience
    Alcasena, Fermín J.; Salis, Michele; Ager, Alan; Castell, Rafael; Vega-García, Cristina, 2017. Assessing wildland fire risk transmission to communities in northern Spain
    Ager, Alan; Houtman, Rachel M.; Seli, Robert; Day, Michelle A.; Bailey, John, 2017. Integrating large wildfire simulation and forest growth modeling for restoration planning
    Kalabokidis, Kostas; Ager, Alan; Finney, Mark A.; Athanasis, Nikos; Palaiologou, Palaiologos; Vasilakos, Christos, 2016. AEGIS: a wildfire prevention and management information system
    Hulse, David; Branscomb, Allan; Enright, Chris; Johnson, Bart; Evers, Cody; Bolte, John; Ager, Alan, 2016. Anticipating surprise: Using agent-based alternative futures simulation modeling to identify and map surprising fires in the Willamette Valley, Oregon USA
    Lozano, Olga M.; Salis, Michele; Ager, Alan; Arca, Bachisio; Alcasena, Fermin J.; Monteiro, Antonio T.; Finney, Mark A.; Del Giudice, Liliana; Scoccimarro, Enrico; Spano, Donatella, 2016. Assessing climate change impacts on wildfire exposure in Mediterranean areas
    Ager, Alan; Day, Michelle A.; Short, Karen C.; Evers, Cody R., 2016. Assessing the impacts of federal forest planning on wildfire risk-mitigation in the Pacific Northwest, USA
    Salis, Michele; Laconi, Maurizio; Ager, Alan; Alcasena, Fermin J.; Arca, Bachisio; Lozano, Olga; de Oliveira, Ana Fernandes; Spano, Donatella, 2016. Evaluating alternative fuel treatment strategies to reduce wildfire losses in a Mediterranean area
    Fischer, A. Paige; Spies, Thomas A; Steelman, Toddi A; Moseley, Cassandra; Johnson, Bart R; Bailey, John D; Ager, Alan; Bourgeron, Patrick; Charnley, Susan; Collins, Brandon M; Kline, Jeffrey D; Leahy, Jessica E; Littell, Jeremy S; Millington, James DA; Nielsen-Pincus, Max; Olsen, Christine S; Paveglio, Travis B; Roos, Christopher I; Steen-Adams, Michelle M; Stevens, Forrest R; Vukomanovic, Jelena; White, Eric M; Bowman, David M. J. S., 2016. Pathology of wildfire risk: A characterization of social and ecological dimensions
    Martin, Ana; Botequim, Brigite; Oliveira, Tiago M.; Ager, Alan; Pirotti, Francesco, 2016. Temporal optimisation of fuel treatment design in blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) plantations
    Salis, Michele; Ager, Alan A.; Alcasena, Fermin J.; Arca, Bachisio; Finney, Mark A.; Pellizzaro, Grazia; Spano, Donatella, 2015. Analyzing seasonal patterns of wildfire exposure factors in Sardinia, Italy
    Vogler, Kevin C.; Ager, Alan; Day, Michelle A.; Jennings, Michael; Bailey, John D., 2015. Prioritization of forest restoration projects: Tradeoffs between wildfire protection, ecological restoration and economic objectives
    Bone, Christopher; Ager, Alan; Bunzel, Ken; Tierney, Lauren, 2014. A geospatial search engine for discovering multi-format geospatial data across the web
    Ager, Alan; Day, Michelle A.; McHugh, Charles W.; Short, Karen C.; Gilbertson-Day, Julie; Finney, Mark A.; Calkin, Dave E., 2014. Wildfire exposure and fuel management on western US national forests
    Ager, Alan; Preisler, H.K.; Arca, B.; Spano, D; Salis, M., 2014. Wildfire risk estimation in the Mediterranean area
    Preisler, Haiganoush K; Ager, Alan, 2013. Forest-fire models
    Ager, Alan; Buonopane, Michelle; Reger, Allison; Finney, Mark A., 2013. Wildfire exposure analysis on the National Forests in the Pacific Northwest, USA
    Ager, Alan A.; Vaillant, Nicole M.; Finney, Mark A.; Preisler, Haiganoush K., 2012. Analyzing wildfire exposure and source–sink relationships on a fire prone forest landscape
    Salis, Michele; Ager, Alan; Arca, Bachisio; Finney, Mark A.; Bacciu, Valentina; Duce, Pierpaolo; Spano, Donatella, 2012. Assessing exposure of human and ecological values to wildfire in Sardinia, Italy
    Malcolm, Karl; Thompson, Matthew P.; Calkin, Dave E.; Finney, Mark A.; Ager, Alan, 2012. Science You Can Use (SYCU): Wildfire triage - Targeting mitigation based on social, economic, and ecological values
    Thompson, Matthew P.; Ager, Alan A.; Finney, Mark A.; Calkin, Dave E.; Vaillant, Nicole M., 2012. The science and opportunity of wildfire risk assessment (Chapter 6)
    Calkin, David E.; Ager, Alan; Thompson, Matthew P.; Finney, Mark A.; Lee, Danny C.; Quigley, Thomas M.; McHugh, Charles W.; Riley, Karin; Gilbertson-Day, Julie M., 2011. A comparative risk assessment framework for wildland fire management: the 2010 cohesive strategy science report
    Thompson, Matthew P.; Calkin, Dave E.; Gilbertson-Day, Julie W.; Ager, Alan A., 2011. Advancing effects analysis for integrated, large-scale wildfire risk assessment
    Thompson, Matthew P.; Calkin, Dave E.; Finney, Mark A.; Ager, Alan A.; Gilbertson-Day, Julie W., 2011. Integrated national-scale assessment of wildfire risk to human and ecological values
    Calkin, Dave E.; Finney, Mark A.; Ager, Alan A.; Thompson, Matthew P.; Gebert, Krista M., 2011. Progress towards and barriers to implementation of a risk framework for US federal wildland fire policy and decision making
    Calkin, Dave E.; Thompson, Matthew P.; Ager, Alan A.; Finney, Mark A., 2010. Barriers to implementation of risk management for federal wildland fire management agencies in the United States
    Cathcart, Jim; Ager, Alan A.; McMahan, Andrew; Finney, Mark A.; Watt, Brian, 2010. Carbon benefits from fuel treatments
    Arca, Bachisio; Pellizzaro, Grazia; Duce, Pierpaolo; Salis, Michele; Bacciu, Valentina; Spano, Donatella; Ager, Alan; Finney, Mark A., 2010. Climate change impact on fire probability and severity in Mediterranean areas
    Ager, A.A.; Finney, Mark A.; McMahan, A.; Carthcart, J., 2010. Measuring the effect of fuel treatments on forest carbon using landscape risk analysis
    Calkin, Dave E.; Ager, Alan A.; Gilbertson-Day, Julie, 2010. Wildfire risk and hazard: procedures for the first approximation
    Ager, Alan A.; McMahan, Andrew J.; Barrett, James J.; McHugh, Charles W., 2007. A simulation study of thinning and fuel treatments on a wildland-urban interface in eastern Oregon, USA
    Ager, Alan; Hayes, Jane L.; Schmitt, Craig L., 2004. Chapter 8: Simulating mortality from forest insects and diseases
    A fire burning in a dry pine ecosystem.
    Managing wildfires for resource objectives diminished the likelihood of extreme fire events over time by making wildfire activity more predictable. Adding resource objective wildfire to the current rate of forest restoration expanded the area treated fivefold, and restoration objectives were achieved in 25 years when the rate of forest restoration was increased five times the current pace.
    A map of the perimeter of a modeled extremely large fire in Southern California.
    Climate change studies suggest that extreme wildfires will become more frequent in the future. We investigated the prediction of extreme wildfire events - plausible but rare scenarios that describe yet to be observed fire disasters - using fire simulation methods. 
    A map of the Deschutes National Forest, with the wildland-urban interface marked in red and various treatment areas marked in shades of blue.
    We integrated the widely used Forest Vegetation Simulator with FSim, a large wildfire simulator, to study how management policies affect future wildfire regimes. The model leverages decades of research and development on the respective forest growth and wildfire simulation models, and their integration creates a strategic forest landscape model that can be used to examine forest fire and management policy issues on National Forests in the western United States.
    Pioneer Fire in Idaho, night time photo of active fire running up hill
    The USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station recently released a new General Technical Report, GTR-392, Cross-boundary Wildfire and Community Exposure: A Framework and Application in the Western US. The publication describes the development and application of a framework to assess cross-boundary wildfire exposure for the Western U.S. with the purpose of mapping potential fire transmission among public and private lands, and identifying areas where ignitions are most likely to expose communities to wildfire.  
    ForSys is a flexible platform for exploring landscape management scenarios and optimizing decisions in terms of where and how to achieve landscape restoration and fuel management goals. The model is spatially explicit and uses multi-criteria prioritization and optimization created to rapidly design fuel treatment and restoration scenarios. The program evolved from the Landscape Treatment Designer used in prior studies.
    The USDA Forest Service Scenario Investment Planning Platform was developed by Forest Service Research & Development to help the agency modernize its approach to prioritizing land management investments. 
    Firesheds are a way to delineate where fires ignite and are likely to, or not to, spread to communities and expose buildings. The fireshed map shows the source of exposure to fire. The fireshed registry is the geospatial portal that portrays the past, present, and future in terms of agency investments in forest and fuel management in relation to historical and predicted fire activity.   
    ArcFuels was built to streamline the fuel management planning process, and provide tools for quantitative wildfire risk assessment.
    We integrated the widely used Forest Vegetation Simulator with FSim, a large wildfire simulator to study how management policies affect future wildfire regimes.  The model leverages decades of research and development on the respective forest growth and wildfire simulation models, and their integration creates a strategic forest landscape model that has a high degree of transparency in the existing user communities.  We are using the model to examine forest fire and management policy issues on national forests in the western US.
    We are using the agent-based landscape simulation model Envision to explore a wide range of forest management and future wildfire scenarios to understand how accelerated restoration programs and climate change might alter forest trajectories over time. We are particularly interested in landscape tipping points, feedbacks, and synergies between wildfire and restorative forest and fuels management. We are measuring a wide range of response variables including landscape carbon, spatial pattern and patch size of high severity fire, and resilient forest. The modeling work is being conducted with study areas in central Oregon that encompass 3 million ha of federal and private forest lands. 
    This project investigated the issue of radionuclide resuspension from wildland fires in areas contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion. The work was originated from a scientific exchange among scientists from the USDA Forest Service, Ukraine and Belarus that was organized by USFS International Programs to assess science and technology gaps related to wildfire risk management.  One of the products from that exchange was the development and application of a wildfire risk modeling system to predict likely hotspots for large fires and where wildfire ignitions will most likely result in significant radionuclide (Cesium, 137Cs) resuspension. The system was also used to identify locations for ignition prevention and strategic fuel breaks to reduce future emissions.  
    In this project we provide the first comprehensive assessment of where public wildlands in the western United States potentially contribute wildfire exposure to communities in the 11 western states and provide a framework for assessing cross-boundary wildfire exposure.