Wildland Fire Professional Certification

Applications can be submitted online at any time.  The deadline for application for this year is August 16, 2013.   Applicants will be notified of results by in early 2014.  All applicants must be current members of AFE.  Applications for 2014 deadline TBA.

The Association of Fire Ecology’s Wildland Fire Professional Certification Program is designed to further ecologically-based fire science and management. The complexity and importance of fire science and management is increasing worldwide. To meet the increasing demands for effective analysis, decision-making, and workforce development in a the changing fire landscape, the Education Committee of the Association for Fire Ecology (AFE) has developed a Professional Certification Program for fire ecologists, managers, and technicians. The goals of the program are to formally identify fire careers as vital professions, to set standards for the preparation of future fire professionals, and to document the education, experience, and training qualifications of members of the fire ecology and management profession.

We hope that this strengthens the recognition and support for ecologically-based fire science and management. We wish to recognize and advance sound, effective ecological application of fire through two unique programs developed by the Education Committee of the Association for Fire Ecology (AFE).

  • Certification of individuals as Wildland Fire Professionals, reflecting their education, training and experience, and
  • Certification of university education programs through our Wildland Fire Academic Program Certification.

AFE offers two Initial Certifications for those starting out in their wildland fire careers, and two Certification Pathways for Fire Managers and Fire Ecologists and Scientists. Minimum qualifications for each type of AFE Certification are described below. Appeals for exceptions must include documentation and a letter justifying the request.


Initial Certifications

AFE Wildland Fire Technician: An entry-level position for fire professionals who have graduated from a 2-year or 4-year program with a focus on wildland fire, such as Technical Fire Management 1. Cost is $60

AFE Wildland Fire Practitioner: Minimum qualifications include a B.S. with coursework in 7 core areas (see below) or a B.S from an AFE Certified Academic Program, PLUS 2 years of related experience.  Cost is $60


Certification Pathway 1: Fire Management

AFE Wildland Fire Manager: Minimum qualifications include a undergraduate (e.g., B.S.) with coursework in 7 core areas (see below) or graduation from an AFE Certified Academic Program PLUS 8 years of related experience, OR a M.S. in Fire Management (or related field), PLUS 5 years of related experience.  Until January 2013, we will consider applications from those who currently have 15 or more years of experience and no BS as long as they have coursework in 7 core areas (some NWCG coursework1 and Technical Fire Management can be used: all if they are on an academic transcript, or if they are not on an academic transcript up 6 of 21 credits in the 7 core areas can be counted).  Cost is $60

1 AFE is in the process of certifying academic programs. See AFE web site for list of programs and for more information.

AFE Senior Wildland Fire Manager: Senior Wildland Fire Managers are leaders in the wildland fire management profession who have made substantial and lasting contributions to the field. Minimum qualifications include either a M.S. or Ph.D. in Fire Management (or related field), PLUS at least 10 years of related experience, or a B.S. degree in Fire Management (or related field) plus at least 20 years of related experience. Applicants should demonstrate an exemplary record of achievement in ecologically-based fire management or fire policy. The latter could be demonstrated by a diversity of complex fire management responsibilities, especially if these are in multiple ecosystems; leading development and implementation of a fire management plan(s) based on ecological principles; modeling of fire behavior and effects based on ecological principles; breadth of experience and demonstrated influence on incorporating fire ecology into management practices, e.g. through publication and training; or equivalent demonstration of long-term commitment to integrating ecology into fire management.  Cost is $150


Certification Pathway 2: Fire Ecology and Science

AFE Wildland Fire Ecologist: Minimum qualifications include a B.S. with coursework in 7 core areas (see below) or graduation from an AFE Certified Academic Program, PLUS 8 years of related experience, OR a M.S. in Fire Ecology or Fire Science (or related field) PLUS 5 years of related experience.  Cost is $60

AFE Senior Wildland Fire Ecologist: Senior Fire Ecologists / Scientists are leaders in the fire science profession who have made substantial and lasting contributions to the field. Minimum qualifications include a M.S. or Ph. D. in Fire Ecology / Science (or related field), PLUS at least 10 years of related experience. Applicants should demonstrate an exemplary record of achievement in fire ecology or fire science research and education.  Cost is $150

NOTE: All applications must include details of how the qualifications are being met. For all levels of certification, we need to see demonstration of quality and effectiveness in meeting requirements. “Related experience” may consist of a combination of land stewardship, fire suppression, policy development, and/or research employment/volunteer and other work involving ecologically-based fire management. Appeals for exceptions must include documentation and a letter justifying the request.

The Seven Required Core Area of Study
  1. Fire Ecology—At least 3 credits are required from the Fire Ecology (can include thesis or dissertation research).
  2. Fire Science & Management—At least 3 credits are required from Fire Sciences / Management sections (can include thesis and dissertation research).
  3. General Ecology—At least 3 credits are required in General Ecology.
  4. Statistics—At least 3 credits are required in Statistics.
  5. Advanced Ecology & Biology—At least 3 credits are required for Advanced Ecology and Biology – 300-level+ courses in: ecology, botany, pathology, zoology, entomology.
  6. Measurement & Analysis—At least 3 credits are required for Measurement and Analysis – remote sensing, GIS, modeling, sampling, monitoring.
  7. Environmental Sciences—At least 3 credits are required for Environmental Sciences – Meteorology, soils, geology, hydrology, phys. geography.