They call themselves the Wildland Fire Science Club. In their own words, they are “the technical geeks, the nerds, the folks that are doing the figuring behind the scenes.”
Typically, there are four members, with some positions comprising a rotating cast: a fire behavior analyst, an incident meteorologist, a long-term analyst and a strategic operational planner. They’re obsessed with fire, a Fire Avengers brain trust of sorts, and they are charged with trying to outsmart wildfire to keep your house and public lands from burning down.
Byron Kimball is Arizona’s sole practicing fire behavior analyst. With a smokejumper older cousin and a family ranch in Santa Barbara that backs up against the fire-prone Los Padres National Forest, he was primed for a life in the hot seat. By the time he was in the 8th grade, he knew he wanted to work in wildland firefighting for the U.S. Forest Service.