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Dr. Sarah McCaffrey

Sarah McCaffrey, Ph.D.
Research Forester
US Forest Service – Northern Research Station


Sarah McCaffrey

Dr. McCaffrey has been a researcher with the Northern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service since 2002, where she specializes in the social aspects of fire management.  She is now serving at the Rocky Mountain Research Station. She has developed an integrated research program of both individual and team research that is grounded in manager and policy-maker needs.  Areas of programmatic influence include determining overall program direction and project funding decisions for a National Fire Plan program examining the characteristics of effective communication programs and social acceptability of prescribed fire, thinning, and defensible space.  She has also been a cooperator on seven Joint Fire Science Program funded projects.  In total she has had oversight and consultation responsibilities for eighteen research projects and been co-PI or PI on fourteen projects related to wildfire.  Dr. McCaffrey’s expertise is frequently sought by local, state, and federal fire managers as well as internationally.  In 2009, she was designated as a USDA Liaison to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission (which had been charged with assessing the causes and circumstances of the February 7, 2009 bushfires that resulted in 173 deaths).  She provided written and oral testimony to the Commission on social aspects of fire management in the US and her comparative work between Australia and the US.  She is a primary contact person for the Washington Office of the Forest Service and the National Interagency Fire Center on social issues of fire management and has been assigned by the Forest Service Deputy Chiefs of Research and of State and Private Forestry as team lead for a working group tasked with identifying ways to improve manager’s access to fire social science research findings.