WFCA Launches Applied Sciences Center for Resilience Studies to Bridge Research and Practice
Published: 8/09/2023
Author: Western Fire Chiefs Association

WFCA's Applied Sciences Center for Resilience Studies (ASC) inaugural research endeavor, backed by funding from NASA's Science Mission Directorate's Earth Science Division, centers on advancing wildfire technology and decision-making processes. The prime objective is to formulate a versatile decision matrix and model which can be used to evaluate existing and future investments in wildland technologies, doctrine, and operations to improve our first responders’ ability to operate in the rapidly changing regime of increased wildfire threat. The vision for this project was a collaborative effort developed with input from the Moore Foundation and former State Fire Marshal of California, Chief Kate Dargan, in response to the increasing threats of wildland fires and the challenges associated with gathering actionable intelligence to support more effective response.

Dr. Katelynn Kapalo and co-investigator Brian Collins will spearhead this effort, with a focus on pinpointing crucial technology investments for the initial 24 hours of a fire at the wildland-urban interface. “Our central goal is to support incident management teams making decisions in dynamic and changing environments where intelligence gathered and resource management is critical to the decision-making process,” said Collins and Kapalo. For this project, ASC will collaborate with Processus and Obsidian, as project activities will be focused on leveraging data and decision science expertise in use across the military, training, and medical fields.

Chief (ret.) Bob Horton, ASC Director, expressed enthusiasm for the approach. “We are proud to have the confidence of NASA to conduct this important work. Our role is to connect the research community and experts from other domains to practitioners on the ground. This initiative will directly benefit our firefighters and offer guidance to academia and industry alike, spurring innovation and progress.”

The launch of the Applied Sciences Center for Resilience Studies is a defining moment for the Western Fire Chiefs Association, making a lasting contribution to the knowledge base in building resilient communities and a resilient fire service. WFCA President Mark Niemeyer marked the occasion, saying “The WFCA is expected to bring innovation into the fire service. The ASC shows our commitment to doing just that, and we are excited to be unveiling it, and looking forward to announcing our new partners and projects in the coming weeks.”

For more information about the Applied Sciences Center for Resilience Studies and the Western Fire Chiefs Association, please visit


For media inquiries please contact:
Bob Horton
Director, ASC

About WFCA:

The Western Fire Chiefs Association is a private non-profit 501(c)(3) organization located in Wilsonville, Oregon. Created in 1891 by a diverse group of fire chiefs spanning the West Coast, WFCA is an independent division of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). The WFCA helps develop and supports the work of fire service leaders and organizations in order that they may best provide for the protection of people and the environment from the occurrence and outcomes of fires and other natural, technological, and human-behavior-caused emergencies. For more information, visit

Disclaimer statement:
“The material contained in this document is based upon work supported by a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) grant or cooperative agreement. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of NASA.”

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