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From History to Wildland Fire Management

The degree in history that I received from the University of Oregon has proved invaluable as I have moved through my career in wildland fire management. I chose to study history at the U of O because it was what I loved and I knew that a liberal arts education would provide me with the well rounded background and critical thinking skills necessary to compete and succeed in a broad range of professional tracks. Having stumbled into a seasonal wildland fire position during the summer of my junior year, I chose to write my senior research paper on a historically significant wildfire in Oregon history, the Tillamook burn. Following graduation I went on to work for the US Forest Service in southwest Oregon and then on to the Department of Natural Resources in Utah.

My understanding of the people and places I have been exposed to during my fourteen year career is far richer thanks to the time I spent studying history at the University of Oregon. My degree also provided the credential necessary to pursue a graduate certificate in GIS, furthering my fire management career. I now administer a state funded wildfire reduction program that brings me into contact with state and local elected officials, federal land managers, private landowners, and a variety of additional stakeholders. Without the analytical skills and historical understanding of the American west that I gained at the UO, I would not be as effective in my current position nor would I enjoy the people and places to the depth and level that I do.

Nate Barrons
Catastrophic Wildfire Reduction Strategy Coordinator
National Cohesive Strategy Liaison
Utah Department of Natural Resources
Forestry, Fire and State Lands
Salt Lake City, Utah