First National Legacy Award presented to Forest Service retiree

Jack Cohan

Above: Dr. Jack Cohen makes a presentation at the 2011 Fire Litigation Conference in San Diego. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

Dr. Jack Cohen received the first National Legacy Award given by the U.S. Forest Service, National Association of State Foresters, National Fire Protection Association, and International Association of Fire Chiefs in recognition of outstanding career-long contributions to wildfire mitigation as an alternative to suppression. Dr. Cohen helped develop the U.S. National Fire Danger Rating System and developed calculations for wildland firefighters’ safe zones; created defensible space principles, which resulted in the Firewise program; the Home Ignition Zone; and conducted research on ember ignitions and structure ignitability.

His research laid the groundwork for nearly all of today’s work on wildland urban interface risk reduction. Until his 2016 retirement, he was a research scientist at Missoula Technology and Development Center. The award was presented at the IAFC WUI Conference in Reno, Nevada.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Robert.
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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “First National Legacy Award presented to Forest Service retiree”

  1. In the aftermath of the 1979 Spanish Ranch Fire fatalities, three mandates were imposed on CDF.
    The most significant one was to get all supervisory personnel thru Intermediate Fire Behavior classes in two years. To accomplish this, a “train the trainers” class was held. One of the instructors for this class was Jack Cohen for the Fire Lab. He made a lasting and positive impression on us.
    I followed his career and always valued his comments, most notably his report on the Cerro Grande fire.
    Two years ago, Jack gave me a lengthy insiders tour of the Fire Lab.
    I still teach S-290, and Jack remains an inspiration to this work.

    Thank you, Jack !


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