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College of Natural Resources

Physical Address:
975 W. 6th Street
Moscow, Idaho

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1138
Moscow, ID 83844-1138

Phone: 208-885-8981

Fax: 208-885-5534


Web: College of Natural Resources


Alistair Smith

Alistair MS Smith, Ph.D.

Professor of Wildland Fire Science and Combustion Physics


CNR 204C



Mailing Address

Department of Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1133
Moscow, Idaho 83844-1133


  • 2004 PhD: Geography, King’s College London, University of London
  • 2000 MSc: Physics, King’s College London, University of London
  • 1999 BSc Physics, University of Edinburgh

Research Interests

Combustion physics
Wildland fire science
Forest biometrics


Meddens A.J.H., Kolden C.A., Lutz J.A., Smith A.M.S., Cansler A., Abatzoglou J.T., Meigs G.W., Downing W.M., Krawchuk M.A. 2018/9. Fire refugia: What are they and why do they matter for global change? BioScience, doi: 10.1093/biosci/biy103.

Smith A.M.S., Kolden C.A., Bowman D.M.J.S. 2018. Biomimicry can help humans to sustainably coexist with fire. Nature Ecology and Evolution, doi: 10.1038/s41559-018-0712-2.

Smith A,M,S,, Kolden C.A., Prichard S.J., Gray R.W., Hessburg P.F., Balch J.K. 2018. Recognizing Women Leaders in Fire Science, Fire, 1, 2, 30.

Bowman D.M.J.S., Williamson G, Kolden C.A., Abatzoglou, J.T., Cochrane M.A., Smith A.M.S. 2017. Human exposure and sensitivity to globally extreme wildfire events, Nature: Ecology and Evolution, 1, 0058, doi: 10.1038/s41559-016-0058

Hyde J.C., Yedinak K.M., Talhelm A.F., Smith A.M.S., Bowman D.M.J.S., Johnson F., Lahm P., Fitch M., Tinkham W.T. 2017. Air quality policy from fire management responses addressing smoke from wildland fires in the United States and Australia, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 26, 5, 347-363.

Smith, A.M.S., Kolden, C.A., Paveglio, T, Cochrane, M.A., Mortitz, M.A., Bowman, D.M.J.S., Hoffman, C.M., Lutz, J., Queen, L.P., Hudak, A.T., Alessa, L., Kliskey, A.D., Goetz, S., Yedinak, K.M., Boschetti, L., Higuera, P.E., Flannigan, M., Strand, E.K., van Wagtendonk, J.W., Anderson, J.W., Stocks, B.J., and Abatzoglou, J.T.  2016. The science of firescapes: achieving fire resilient communities, BioScience, 66, 2, 130-146. 

Smith A.M.S., Sparks A.M., Kolden CA, Abatzoglou J.T., Talhelm A.F., Johnson D.M., Boschetti L., Lutz J.A., Apostol K.G., Yedinak K.M., Tinkham W.T., Kremens R.J. 2016. Towards a new paradigm in fire severity research using dose-response experiments International Journal of Wildland Fire, 25, 158-166

Smith, A.M.S., Kolden, C.A., Tinkham, W.T., Talhelm, A., Marshall, J.D., Hudak, A.T., Boschetti, L., Falkowski, M.J., Greenberg, J.A., Anderson, J.W., Kliskey, A. , Alessa, L., Keefe, R.F., and Gosz, J. 2014. Remote Sensing the Vulnerability of Vegetation in Natural Terrestrial Ecosystems, Remote Sensing of Environment, 154, 322-337, 10.1016/j.rse.2014.03.038.

Smith, A.M.S., Tinkham, W.T., Roy, D.P., Boschetti, L., Kumar, S. Sparks, A.M, Kremens, R.L. and Falkowski, M.J. 2013. Quantification of fuel moisture effects on biomass consumed derived from fire radiative energy retrievals, Geophysical Research Letters, 40, 6298-6302. 10.1002/2013GL058232

Last 5 years:

Kolden, C.A., Smith, A.M.S., Abatzoglou, J.T. 2016. The future of assessing trends in wildfire burn severity: understanding and utilizing Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity products, International Journal of Wildland Fire, in press.

Birch, D.S., Morgan, P., Kolden, C.A., Abatzoglou, J.T., Dillon, G.K., Hudak, A.T., Holden, Z.A. and Smith, A.M.S. 2015. Vegetation, topography, and daily weather influenced burn severity in central Idaho and western Montana forests. Ecosphere, 6, 1, 17.

Paveglio, T.B., Brenkert-Smith, H., Hall, T.E. and Smith, A.M.S. 2015. Understanding social impact from wildfires: Advancing means for assessment, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 24, 212-224, doi: 10.1071/WF14091.

Sparks, A.M., Boschetti, L., Smith, A.M.S., Tinkham, W.T., Lannom K.O., and Newingham, B.A. 2015, An accuracy assessment of the MTBS burned area polygons for shrub-steppe fires in the northern Great Basin, United States, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 254, 70-78, doi: 10.1071/WF13206.

Smith, A.M.S., Falkowski, M.J., Greenberg, J.A. and Tinkham, T. 2014. Remote sensing of vegetation structure, function, and condition, Remote Sensing of Environment, 154, 319-321, 10.1016/j.rse.2014.05.002.

Meingast, K.M., Falkowski, M.J., Kane, E.S., Potvin, L.R., Benscoter, B.W., Smith, A.M.S., Bourgeau-Chavez, L.L. & Miller, M.E. 2014. Spectral detection of near surface moisture content and water table position in northern peatland ecosystems, Remote Sensing of Environment, 152, 536-546, doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2014.07.014.

Saralecos, J.D., Keefe, R.F., Tinkham, W.T., Brooks, R.H., Smith, A.M.S. and Johnson, L.R. 2014. Effects of harvesting systems and bole moisture on weight scaling of Douglas-fir sawlogs (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Forests, 5, 9, 2289-2306, doi: 10.3390/f5092289

Leslie, I.N., Heinse, R., Smith, A.M.S. and McDaniel, P.A. 2014, Root decay and fire affect soil-pipe formation and morphology in forested hillslopes with restrictive horizons, Soil Science Society of America Journal, 78, 3, doi:10.2136/sssaj2014.01.0008.

Poznanovic, A.J., Falkowski, M.J., MacLean, A.L., Evans, J.S. and Smith, A.M.S. 2014. An accuracy assessment of tree detection algorithms in juniper woodlands, PE&RS, 80, 5, 45-55.

Birch, D.S., Morgan P., Kolden, C.A., Hudak, A.T. and Smith A.M.S. 2014. Is proportion burned severely related to daily area burned?" Environmental Research Letters, 9, 064011, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/9/6/064011.

Kreye, J.K., Brewer, N.B., Morgan, P., Varner, J.M, Smith, A.M.S., Hoffman, C.H., and Ottmar, R.D. 2014. Fire behavior in masticated fuels: a review, Forest Ecology and Management, 314, 193-207. 10.1016/j.foreco.2013.11.035.

Tinkham W., Smith A.M.S., Marshal, H-P., Link, T.E and Falkowski, M.J, 2014. Quantifying spatial distribution of snow depth errors from LiDAR using Random Forests, Remote Sensing of Environment, 141, 105-115. doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2013.10.021.

Lannom, K.O, Tinkham, W.T., Smith, A.M.S., Abatzoglou, J., Newingham, B.A., Hall, T.E. Morgan P., Strand E.K. , Paveglio, T.B. Anderson, J.W, and Sparks A.M., 2014. Defining extreme wildland fires using geospatial data and ancillary metrics, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 23, 322-377, doi: 10.1071/WF13065.

Tinkham W., Hoffman, C., Falkowski, M.J., Smith A.M.S., Link, T.E. and Marshal, H-P., 2013. A methodology to spatially characterize errors in LiDAR derived products, PE&RS, 79, 7, 709-716.

Wooster, M.J. Roberts, G., Smith, A.M.S., Johnson, J., Freeborn, P., Amici, S., and Hudak, A.T. 2013, Thermal Remote Sensing of Active Vegetation Fires and Biomass Burning Events, chapter 18, in "Thermal Infrared Remote Sensing", Eds: C. Kuenzer and S. Dech. Springer, ISBN: 978-94-007-6638-9.

Roy, D.P., Boschetti, L., Smith, A.M.S., 2013, Satellite remote sensing of fires, chapter 5 in Belcher, C.M. and Rein, G., eds., Fire Phenomena and the Earth System: An Interdisciplinary Guide to Fire Science, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, England, 368pp. ISBN: 978-0-470-65748-5. DOI: 10.1002/9781118529539.ch5.

Brewer, N.W., Smith, A.M.S., Hatten, J.A., Higuera, P.E., Hudak, A.T., Ottmar, R.D. and Wade T. Tinkham, 2013, Fuel Moisture Influences on Fire-altered Carbon in Masticated Fuels: An Experimental Study, Journal of Geophysical Research, 118, 30-40, doi:10.1029/2012JG002079.

Heward H., Smith A.M.S., Roy, D.P., Tinkham, W.T., Hoffman, C.M., Morgan P. and Lannom, K.O. 2013. Is burn severity related to fire intensity? Observations from landscape scale remote sensing, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 9, 910-918. doi: 10.1071/WF12087.

Hudak A.T., Ottmar R.D., Vihnanek, B, Brewer N.W., Smith A.M.S., Morgan P. 2013, The relationship of post-fire white ash cover to surface fuel consumption. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 22, 6, 780-785. doi: 10.1071/WF12150.

Adams, H.D., Luce, C.H., Breshears, D.D., Weiler, M., Hale, C.H., Allen, C.D., Smith, A.M.S., Huxman, T.E., 2012. Ecohydrological consequences of drought- and infestation-triggered tree die-off, Ecohydrology, DOI: 10.1002/eco.233.

Tinkham W., Smith A.M.S., Link, T.E., Hoffman, C., Hudak, A.T., Swanson, M., Gessler P.E., and Falkowski, M.J., 2012 The utility of LiDAR for forest inventory: Investigating height errors from slope and vegetation in a coniferous forest with complex terrain, Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 42, 413-422.

Hyde, J.C., Smith, A.M.S. and Ottmar, R.D., 2012, Properties affecting the consumption of sound and rotten coarse woody debris: a preliminary investigation using laboratory fires, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 21, 5 596-608,

Tinkham, W.T., Huang, H., Smith, A.M.S., Shrestha, R. Falkowski, M.J., Hudak, A.T., Link, T.E., Glenn, N.F. and Marks, D.G., 2011, A comparison of two open source lidar surface filtering algorithms, Remote Sensing, 3, 638-649.

Hyde, J.C., Smith, A.M.S., Ottmar, R.D, Alvarado, E.C., and Morgan P. 2011. The Combustion of Sound and Rotten Coarse Woody Debris: A Review, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 20, 163-174.

Falkowski, M.J., Hudak, A.T., Crookston, N., Gessler, P.E., Ubeler, E.H. and Smith A.M.S., 2010 Landscape-scale parameterization of a tree-level forest growth model: a k-NN imputation approach incorporating LiDAR data, Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 40, 184-199.

Kremens, R., Smith, A.M.S. and Dickinson, M. 2010 Fire Metrology: current and future directions in physics-based measurements, Fire Ecology, 6, 1, 13-35.

Sesnie, S.E., Finegan, B., Gessler, P.E., Rahaniemi, S. Thessler, S., Brendana, Z.R. and Smith, A.M.S., 2010. The multispectral separability of Costa Rica rain forest types with support-vector machines and Random Forest decision trees, International Journal of Remote Sensing, 31, 11, 2885-2909.

Holden, Z.A., Morgan, P., Smith, A.M.S. and Vierling, L.A., 2010. Beyond Landsat: Multi-scale Assessment of Four Satellite Sensors for Detecting Burn Severity in Ponderosa Pine Forests of the Gila Wilderness, NM, USA. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 19, 449-458.

Roy, D.P., Boschetti, L., Maier, S.W. and Smith, A.M.S., 2010 Field estimation of ash reflectance using a standard grey scale, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 19, 698-704.

2017 Research and Creative Activity Excellence Award, University of Idaho
2016 Presidential Mid-Career Award, University of Idaho
2012 Alumni Award of Excellence, University of Idaho
2012 Outstanding Continuing Education and Service Award, College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho
2011 Outstanding Researcher, College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho
2009 Outstanding Researcher, College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho


Prototyping a methodology to develop regional-scale forest aboveground biomass carbon maps predicted from Landsat time series, trained from field and lidar data collections, and independently validated with FIA data, NASA Carbon Monitoring System (Jan 1 2015-Dec 31 2017) Co-Investigator with PI Hudak (USFS)

Prototyping global industrial forest mapping, a Landsat spatio-temporal approach, NASA, (Jan 1 2014-Dec 31 2016), Co-Investigator with PI L. Boschetti (UI)

Enhancing Tools and Geospatial Data to Support Operational Forest Management and Regional Forest Planning in the Face of Climate Change, NASA ROSES New Investigator, Collaborator with PI MJ Falkowski (U. Minnesota).

Fuel Consumption and Carbon cycling in northern peatland ecosystems: Understanding vulnerability to burning, fuel consumption, and emissions via remote sensing of fuel moisture and fire radiative energy, NASA ROSES Terrestrial Ecology, Collaborator with PI MJ Falkowski (U. Minnesota).

Quantifying the characteristics and investigating the biogeoscientific and societal impacts of extreme wildland fires in the United States northern Rockies region, NASA ROSES Interdisciplinary Research in Earth Science, (July 1 2011-Aug 1 2015), Principal Investigator


The primary focus of my extension program at the University of Idaho has been in fostering a partnership with the National Wildfire Coordination Group (NWCG) Smoke Committee to update federal smoke management trainings. Through the ongoing supervision of my employee Joshua Hyde, we have developed a considerable web presence and reputation for smoke management and air quality extension at the University of Idaho. We host these extension efforts via the FRAMES Emissions and Smoke portal.

Contact Us

College of Natural Resources

Physical Address:
975 W. 6th Street
Moscow, Idaho

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1138
Moscow, ID 83844-1138

Phone: 208-885-8981

Fax: 208-885-5534


Web: College of Natural Resources