The Association for Fire Ecology (AFE) began with a small group of researchers and fire managers calling themselves the California Association for Fire Ecology (CAFE). CAFE focused specifically on questions of interest to California land managers, and hosted annual fire ecology conferences from 1997 to 1999. Each of these conference exceeded the prior event in the numbers of participants, demonstrating a rapidly growing interest in fire ecology in the western region.
In recognition of the need for an organization to promote fire ecology and create a network of fire ecologists at a national and international scale, several members of CAFE founded the Association for Fire Ecology (AFE) in July 2000. CAFE continued as one of the regional sections within AFE, while AFE expanded its membership and scope of activities across North America.
The first major project of AFE was convening the first International Fire Ecology and Management Congress in November of 2000, and since then, AFE has hosted fire ecology conferences nearly every year in several different cities across the U.S. (see past conferences for brief descriptions of these events).
AFE has expanded its programs and projects beyond organizing annual conferences. In 2005 it began publication of an on-line journal, Fire Ecology, that features original peer-reviewed articles on fire ecology. AFE’s journal has published over 70 articles by more than 300 different authors, making it the leading international fire ecology journal.
In 2011 AFE launched its Wildland Fire Certification Program to formally recognize professionals as certified fire ecologists, fire managers, or fire technicians. AFE has expanded the certification to include formal recognition of academic programs offering fire ecology curriculum. AFE continues to grow as an organization whose members from around the world play key roles in wildland fire research, education, management, and policies that promote the use of fire as a vital ecological process.