Karin Riley

Research Ecologist
(406) 329-4806

Research Topics

  • Estimation of risk to terrestrial carbon resources from wildland fire;
  • Creating CONUS-wide maps of trees, understory, and downed woody material;
  • Analysis of fuel treatment effects.
  • simulation of fire regimes under climate change

Personal Summary

Karin has been lurking around the Fire Lab as a contractor or postdoc since 2009 and is now a permanent Forest Service employee. Karin’s work focusses on estimation of fire risk – in the service of this work, she uses a suite of fire modeling, geospatial, and machine learning tools. Prior to working at the Fire Lab, Karin completed a PhD in Geosciences at the University of Montana, where she studied post-fire debris flows and the role of drought in driving large wildland fires.

Karin is currently on the Board for the Association for Fire Ecology (AFE). Karin also chairs for AFE’s Diversity and Inclusivity Committee and she is an Associate Editor for Fire Ecology.

Selected Publications & Products

Riley, Karin L., The science of wildfire prediction: active fires and fires of the future. Presented to Dixie State University remotely on January 12, 2021. (Invited.)

Riley, Karin L., A. Park Williams, Shawn P. Urbanski, Dave E. Calkin, Karen C. Short, and Christopher O’Connor. 2019. Will landscape fire increase in the future? A systems approach to climate, fire, fuel, and human drivers. Current Pollution Reports. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40726-019-0103-6 

Riley, Karin L., Matthew P. Thompson, Joe H. Scott, and Julie W. Gilbertson-Day. 2018. A model-based framework to evaluate alternative wildfire suppression strategies. Resources 7(4); doi:10.3390/resources7010004.

Riley, Karin L. and Rachel Loehman. 2016. Mid-21st century climate changes increase predicted fire occurrence and fire season length, Northern Rocky Mountains, US. Ecosphere 7(11), article e01543.

Riley, Karin L., Anna E. Klene, Isaac Grenfell, and Faith Ann Heinsch. 2013. The relationship of large fire occurrence with drought and fire danger indices in the western USA, 1984-2008: the role of temporal scale. International Journal of Wildland Fire 22(7): 894-909. 

Finney, Mark A., Charles McHugh, Isaac Grenfell, and Karin L. Riley. 2011. A simulation of probabilistic wildfire risk components for the continental United States. Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment 25:973-1000. DOI: 10.1007/s00477-011-0462-z.