Carol Miller - Research Ecologist, Wilderness Fire

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Carol Miller


  • Ph.D., Ecology - Colorado State University, Fort Collins. 1998.
    Dissertation:  Climate, Forest Pattern, and Surface Fire Regimes in the Sierra Nevada, California.
  • M.S., Forest Sciences - Colorado State University, Fort Collins. 1994.
    Thesis:  A model of the interactions among climate, fire, and forest pattern in the Sierra Nevada.
  • B.S., Electrical Engineering - Penn State University, State College. 1985.


After a brief career as an engineer, Carol has found much more satisfaction in the field of ecology. As a graduate student, she developed and used a simulation model to study the interactions among climate, fire, and forest pattern in the Sierra Nevada of California. After a postdoctoral appointment at the Leopold Institute and The University of Montana School of Forestry, she became the fire ecologist here at the Institute. Her program of research seeks to help land managers understand how to include wildland fire as an ecological process to landscapes.



Research Interests:

  • Agents of landscape pattern formation
  • Interactions among fire regimes, climate, and vegetation pattern
  • Implications of fire suppression and our ability to restore fire as an ecosystem process
  • Effects of global climatic change on disturbance regimes

Current Projects:

  • Current Projects category to be updated soon

  • Click Here for information on other fire research projects at the Leopold Institute

Completed Projects:

  • Click Here for information on other completed fire research projects at the Leopold Institute

Selected Publications:

To access other publications by Carol Miller, please click here.

Parks SA, Miller C, Nelson CR, Holden ZA (In press). Previous fires moderate burn severity of subsequent wildland fires in two large western US wilderness areas. Ecosystems. doi: 10.1007/s10021-013-9704-x.
Leopold Publication Number 798

Miller, Carol and Ager, Alan A. 2013. A review of recent advances in risk analysis for wildfire management. International Journal of Wildland Fire 22:1-14.
Leopold Publication Number 792

Haire, Sandra L.; McGarigal, Kevin; Miller, Carol. 2013. Wilderness shapes contemporary fire size distributions across landscapes of the western United States. Ecosphere 4(1):15.
Leopold Publication Number 791

Scott, J.H., Helmbrecht, D.J., Parks, S.A., Miller, C. 2012. Quantifying the Threat of Unsuppressed Wildfires Reaching the Adjacent Wildland-Urban Interface on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming. Fire Ecology 8(2), 125-142. DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0802125
Leopold Publication Number 776

Miller, Carol. 2012. The hidden consequences of fire suppression. Park Science 28(3). DOI:
Leopold Publication Number 751

Parks, Sean A., Marc-André Parisien, and Carol Miller. 2012. Spatial bottom-up controls on fire likelihood vary across western North America. Ecosphere 3(1) article12. DOI:
Leopold Publication Number 746

Parisien, Marc-Andre.; Parks, Sean A.; Miller, Carol; Krawchuck, Meg A.; Heathcott, Mark; and Max A. Moritz. 2011. Contributions of Ignitions, Fuels, and weather to the burn probability of a boreal landscape. Ecosystems 14:1141-1155.
Leopold Publication Number 745

Parks, S.A.; Parisien, M.-A. ; Miller, C. 2011. Multi-scale evaluation of the environmental controls on burn probability in a southern Sierra Nevada landscape. International Journal of Wildland Fire 20:815-828.
Leopold Publication Number 762

The Landscape Ecology of FireMcKenzie, Donald; Miller, Carol; Falk, Donald A., editors. 2011. The Landscape Ecology of Fire. Springer. New York. 312 pages. Leopold Publication Number 728

In this edited volume, we explore fire as a contagious spatial process from a number of perspectives, including fundamental landscape theory, fire-climate interactions, interactions with other ecological processes, and ecosystem management. Along the way we visit traditional domains of landscape ecology such as scaling, pattern-process interactions, and the complex interplay of top-down and bottom-up controls on ecosystem dynamics. We devote considerable space to theoretical considerations, particularly cross-scale modeling and landscape energetics, which we believe are under-represented in the current literature on landscape ecology of fire and other disturbances. In the remainder of the book, we look at fire climatology in an explicitly spatial context, examine four case studies of fire dynamics, two topical and two geographic in focus, and discuss issues facing fire management under rapid global change.This book has 12 chapters and is available from Springer Leopold Publication Number 728

Davis, Brett H.; Miller, Carol; and Parks, Sean A. 2010. Retrospective fire modeling: Quantifying the impacts of fire suppression. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-236WWW. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 40 p.
Leopold Publication Number 709

Davis, Brett H.; Miller, Carol. 2010. What if we didn't suppress fire?. In: Weber, Samantha, ed. Rethinking Protected Areas in a Changing World: Proceedings of the 2009 GWS Biennial Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites; 2009 March 1-6; Portland, OR. Proc. Hancock, Michigan: The George Wright Society: 131-134.
Leopold Publication Number 707

Parisien, M.-A.; Miller, C.; Ager, A.A.; Finney, M.A. 2010. Use of artificial landscapes to isolate controls on burn probability. Landscape Ecology 25: 79-94.
Leopold Publication Number 685

Stewart, S.I.; Wilmer, B.; Hammer, R.B.; Aplet, G.H.; Hawbaker, T.J.; Miller, C.; Radeloff, V.C. 2009. Wildland-urban interface maps vary with purpose and context. Journal of Forestry 107(2):78-83.
Leopold Publication Number 671

Miller, C.; Davis, B. 2009. Quantifying the consequences of fire suppression in two California national parks. The George Wright Forum 26(1): 76-88.
Leopold Publication Number 670

Miller, Carol. 2008. Changing research needs in wilderness fire. International Journal of Wilderness 14(3): 21-22.
Leopold Publication Number 664

Miller, C.; Parisien, M.-A.; Ager, A.A.; Finney, M.A. 2008. Evaluating spatially- explicit burn probabilities for strategic fire management planning. WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment 119:245-252.
Leopold Publication Number 660

Miller, C. 2007. Simulation of the consequences of different fire regimes to support wildland fire use decisions. Fire Ecology 3(2): 83-102.
Leopold Publication Number 639

Falk, Donald A.; Miller, Carol; McKenzie, Donald; Black, Anne E. 2007. Cross-scale analysis of fire regimes. Ecosystems 10: 809-823.
Leopold Publication Number 613


Contact Information:

Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute
790 E. Beckwith Ave.
Missoula, MT 59801
Phone: 406-542-4198
Fax: 406-542-4196

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The Leopold Institute is administered by the Rocky Mountain Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service
and operates under an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service,
U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Land Management,
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service.

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