Fire Ecology research has been ongoing at CKWRI since its inception. In 2010, Dr. Sandra Rideout-Hanzak joined the institute and currently leads the fire ecology program. Dr. Rideout-Hanzak has been involved in fire ecology research since 1999, and she is a Certified Senior Wildland Fire Ecologist.
One of the strengths of our fire ecology program is that students in Dr. Rideout-Hanzak’s prescribed fire course form a fire crew each year and conduct prescribed burns. The crew conducts small plot research burns as well as large pasture-scale burning for research, for area landowners, and on university rangeland property. This provides the students with many opportunities each year to gain experience on prescribed fires and work toward becoming certified burners themselves.
Public outreach is a significant aspect of the fire ecology program. Dr. Rideout-Hanzak teaches Texas Certified and Insured Prescribed Burn Manager courses both for her students and for area land managers. Each year as many as 30 students complete the education requirement for state certification through her courses.