Scientists & Staff

Wildland fire research

Michael Gallagher

Research Ecologist
Silas Little Experimental Forest
P.O. Box 251
New Lisbon, NJ, 08064
Phone: 609-894-8614

Contact Michael Gallagher


Current Research

My research uses novel remote sensing techniques and direct field measurements of forest materials, weather, and active wildland fire to explore questions relating to the fundamentals of wildland fire behavior and ecological effects.  By employing the strategy of coproduction, the complementary inclusion of managers and scientists through each phase of the research process, this research takes on a dynamic, interdisciplinary form through involvement of land management agency, non-profit, and domestic and international research partners.  Based at the Silas Little Experimental Forest, my work aims to develop knowledge to help both fire managers and research scientists by answering the following questions:

1) How do factors of forest vegetation, weather conditions, and combustion processes vary and interact, physically, at multiple spatial and temporal scales to drive dynamics in fire behavior and variation in fire effects?
2) What are the seasonal constraints and opportunities for burn severity and fire effects in eastern mixed forests?
3) How are forest structures and morphologies important for driving fluid dynamics within in the fire environment?
4) How can new remote sensing approaches, like LiDAR, photogrammetry, and multispectral sensors be used to quantify fire behavior, forest fuel loads, and fire effects?
5) Are there opportunities for reducing tick populations, as a disease vector to humans and animals, in the Northeast with prescribed fire.

Research on wildland fires is fascinating and critically important given the changing climatic and forest conditions and expansion of human populations into forested areas of our era.  Much of the work that the team I work with conducts is facilitated by opportunities of prescribed burning, to reduce hazardous fuels and promote forest health.  To see what it is actually like inside of an active prescribed fire, check out this interactive video taken at one of our research burns with NIST's 360 degree fireproof video camera (link: http://www.firesciencenorthatlantic.org/blog/2019/3/25/prescribed-fire-research-burn-with-360-degree-video-from-the-nj-pinelands).

Professional Organizations

  • North Atlantic Fire Science Exchange (2018 - Current)
  • Association for Fire Ecology (2014 - Current)
  • New Jersey Forestry Association (2013 - Current)
  • Society of American Foresters (SAF) (2013 - Current)
    NJ Division Science and Technology Advisory Committee and Programs Committee
  • International Association of Wildland Fire (2011 - Current)
  • Ecological Society of America (2011 - 2017)

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

Other Publications

  • Skowronski, N., and M. Gallagher. 2018. Field Measurement Techniques. In, M. Gollner, ed. "Encyclopedia of Wildland Fires and Wildland Fuel Characterization."

    Clark, Kenneth L.; Skowronski, Nicholas S.; Simeoni, Albert A.; Mell, William E.; Hadden, Rory M.; Gallagher, Michael R.; Mueller, Eric V.; Kremens, Robert L.; El Houssami, Mohamad; Filkov, Alexander I.; Thomas, Jan Christian. 2017. New Jersey fuel treatment effects: 3-dimensional turbulence and temperature data. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2017-0060

    Gallagher, Michael R.; Clark, Kenneth L.; Thomas, Jan Christian; Mell, William E.; Hadden, Rory M.; Mueller, Eric V.; Kremens, Robert L.; El Houssami, Mohamad; Filkov, Alexander I.; Simeoni, Albert A.; Skowronski, Nicholas S. 2017. New Jersey fuel treatment effects: Pre- and post-burn biometric data. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2017-0061

    Skowronski, Nicholas S.; Simeoni, Albert A.; Clark, Kenneth L.; Mell, William E.; Hadden, Rory M.; Gallagher, Michael R.; Mueller, Eric V.; Kremens, Robert L.; El Houssami, Mohamad; Filkov, Alexander I.; Thomas, Jan Christian. 2017. New Jersey fuel treatment effects: Burn units. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2017-0062

    Skowronski, Nicholas S.; Simeoni, Albert A.; Clark, Kenneth L.; Mell, William E.; Hadden, Rory M.; Gallagher, Michael R.; Mueller, Eric V.; Kremens, Robert L.; El Houssami, Mohamad; Filkov, Alexander I.; Thomas, Jan Christian. 2018. New Jersey fuel treatment effects: Leaf-off airborne LiDAR data. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2017-0059

    Kremens, Robert L.; Skowronski, Nicholas S.; Simeoni, Albert A.; Clark, Kenneth L.; Mell, William E.; Hadden, Rory M.; Gallagher, Michael R.; Mueller, Eric V.; El Houssami, Mohamad; Filkov, Alexander I.; Thomas, Jan Christian. 2017. New Jersey fuel treatment effects: Wildfire Airborne Sensor Program - orthorectified long-wave infrared and visible data images. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2017-0063

Research Datasets

  • Skowronski, Nicholas S.; Simeoni, Albert A.; Clark, Kenneth L.; Mell, William E.; Hadden, Rory M.; Gallagher, Michael R.; Mueller, Eric V.; Kremens, Robert L.; El Houssami, Mohamad; Filkov, Alexander I.; Thomas, Jan Christian. 2018. New Jersey fuel treatment effects: Leaf-off airborne LiDAR data . Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2017-0059.
  • Skowronski, Nicholas S.; Simeoni, Albert A.; Clark, Kenneth L.; Mell, William E.; Hadden, Rory M.; Gallagher, Michael R.; Mueller, Eric V.; El Houssami, Mohamad; Filkov, Alexander I.; Thomas, Jan Christian. 2017. New Jersey fuel treatment effects: Wildfire Airborne Sensor Program - orthorectified long-wave infrared and visible data images. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2017-0063.
  • Skowronski, Nicholas S.; Simeoni, Albert A.; Clark, Kenneth L.; Mell, William E.; Hadden, Rory M.; Gallagher, Michael R.; Mueller, Eric V.; Kremens, Robert L.; El Houssami, Mohamad; Filkov, Alexander I.; Thomas, Jan Christian. 2017. New Jersey treatment effects: Burn units. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2017-0062.
  • Gallagher, Michael R.; Clark, Kenneth L.; Thomas, Jan Christian; Mell, William E.; Hadden, Rory M.; Mueller, Eric V.; Kremens, Robert L.; El Houssami, Mohamad; Filkov, Alexander I.; Simeoni, Albert A.; Skowronski, Nicholas S. 2017. New Jersey fuel treatment effects: Pre- and post-burn biometric data. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2017-0061.
  • Clark, Kenneth L.; Skowronski, Nicholas S.; Simeoni, Albert A.; Mell, William E.; Hadden, Rory M.; Gallagher, Michael R.; Mueller, Eric V.; Kremens, Robert L.; El Houssami, Mohamad; Filkov, Alexander I.; Thomas, Jan Christian. 2017. New Jersey fuel treatment effects: 3-dimensional turbulence and temperature data. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.2737/RDS-2017-0060.

National Research Highlights

High resolution maps of burn severity, such as this one of Pennsylvania State Forest, New Jersey, are derived from data indicating the proportions of live and damaged foliage and char within the forest.  Low severity areas, as in the left portion of the photo, retain green foliage and have minimal charring, whereas areas of high severity have high levels of char.

New high resolution infrared data aids in the monitoring of fine scale wildland fire effects

Year: 2017

Wildfires and prescribed fires in the northeastern U.S. are often too small to evaluate using satellite data in the public domain and are too large to adequately evaluate on the ground; but, monitoring these fires provides critical ecological and fire hazard reduction information. Now, the commercial satellite, Worldview3, can be used to generate high-resolution maps of burn severity in pitch pine forests, enabling fire scientists in the region to gather data not previously available.

Instrumented towers set up within and in the vicinity of prescribed fires in the New Jersey Pine Barrens provide critical meteorological and air quality data for validating smoke prediction tools.  Nicholas Skowronski, Forest Service

Fireflux Experiments Improve Safety of Prescribed Burns in the New Jersey Pine Barrens

Year: 2011

Predicting the effects of smoke from low-intensity prescribed fires on local air-quality is being made easier by new tools developed by Forest Service scientists. These tools are now being validated through data collected from fuels, meteorological, and air quality monitoring networks set up near and within prescribed fires in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The tools and observational data from this project help fire and forest managers in planning for prescribed burns to minimize adverse air-quality impacts in the vicinity of the burns.

Last modified: Tuesday, April 02, 2019