Dana Skelly

Dana Skelly

Deputy Fire Staff-Fuels, U.S. Forest Service, Malheur NF


Dana has worked in wildland fire for 20 years, beginning with an AmeriCorps*NCCC fire crew based in Colorado. The majority of her career has been in fuels and fire ecology and has spanned three federal agencies to date. She has been a member of the National Park Service Fire Ecology Steering Committee and spent several years with the Zion, Great Smoky Mountains, Everglades, and Natchez Trace sub-regional fire effects monitoring crews. After that she went to the Forest Service working in fuels and fire operations in Utah and northern Arizona. From 2010-2014 she had the unique opportunity to manage a small, complex fire program for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in the Florida Keys. Her professional passion has been implementing, studying, and promoting progressive and accountable fire management. Today, she is pleased to be on the Malheur National Forest as part of an outstanding team with those same core values.

Dana has cross-trained with the US Coast Guard, Navy, and Air Force for all risk incident management. She has worked for the USFS Washington Office Fuels Program conducting fuels treatment effectiveness assessments and testing the national fuels treatment effectiveness assessment database. Her published fire-related works, both in her maiden name of Cohen as well as her married name Skelly, focus on lightning-caused fires and their management. Her 2007 publication about wildland fire use at Great Smoky Mountains National Park was recently recognized as one of the top 13 papers of the first 10 years of the journal Fire Ecology.

She received her bachelor’s in History from Rutgers College, and prior to working in natural resources was an editor and graphic designer at an art magazine in New York City.

Presentation Topic

Prescribed Fire At Scale

Presentation Description

The Malheur National Forest, at the southern edge of the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon, is dominated by forest types which historically had very frequent, low-severity fires. Current research shows a fire return interval of 12-28 years even in moist mixed conifer stands. Dry forest types account for approximately 1 million acres on the Malheur and have been at the frequent end of this range. Freely extrapolating, this translates to treating 83,000 acres per year in dry forest types alone to approximate the historic range of variability (HRV). Yet we average just under 6,000 acres of burning each year, and approximately 13,000 footprint acres treated in total per year. This will not do.

This scenario is not uncommon across forests in the western US. It begs two questions. How do we complete the landscape scale burning we have committed to in our NEPA? Meet forest plan and national cohesive wildland fire strategy—pay me now to avoid the pay-me-later scenario?

In this presentation, we will explore efficiencies we have begun to implement on the Malheur as well as explore examples from other regions that offer ideas for constructive paths forward.

Workshop Schedule

Registration Opens

10:00 AM

Light Lunch

11:00 AM

Key Note Speaker

12:00 PM

Panel: The Economics of Forest Restoration

Topics: Making Forest Restoration Economical, Contractor Logging Costs & Opportunities for Cost-savings, The Economics of Dry Forest Stewardship Projects, and Using the Land Fin Tool

Panel: From Inception to Implementation, Planning for Success

Topics: Planning at the Landscape Scale, Making Use of Good Neighbor Authority, Authorities to Maximize Restoration, and Packaging Federal Resources for All-lands Restoration

Panel: Cutting Edge Technologies for Sale Layout and Implementation (Part 1)

Topics: Virtual Boundaries and Discernable Boundaries, Integration of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in daily forest operations: from cruising to regeneration survey, Using Avenza PDF Maps in Concert with Cut-To-Length Harvesting Systems, and Planning Ground-based Harvest Operations to Limit Soil Impacts

Reception and Featured Speaker

5:30 PM


7:00 AM

Featured Speaker

Panel: Forest Treatments for Riparian Health

Topics: Hydrology Concerns for Treatments in Riparian Areas, Riparian Thinning Using Cut-to-Length, and Riparian Thinning: An Example from the Deschutes National Forest

Panel: Managing Good Fire at the Right Place and Right Time (Part 1)

Topics: Managed Fire: A tool or a Hazard? An in-depth discussion with the Lakeview Forest Stewardship Group.

Panel: Managing Good Fire at the Right Place and Right Time (Part 2)

Topics: Prescribed Fire at Scale and Contracting Prescribed Fire

Panel: Bridges and Water Crossings: Challenges and Opportunities

Topics: Roads, Crossings and Culverts, Low-cost approaches to Low-Volume Roads and Water Crossings, Prioritizing Roads, Crossings & Culverts with NetMap.

Lunch: A View from All Sides: Perspectives on Implementation Efficiencies, Challenges, & Opportunities

Summary Statements from Forest Service Staff, Collaborative Member and Industry Representative discussed over Lunch

11:45 AM


Have a safe trip home!

1:00 PM


7:00 AM

Featured Speaker: Do Collaboratives Matter in Litigation?

with Susan Jane Brown

Panel: New Opportunities for Conventional Harvesting Systems and Biomass Utilization

Topics: Cut-to-Length vs Whole Tree Logging Systems, Biomass Utilization: Harvesting and Markets, and Managing Slash: Needs, Challenges, Opportunities

Panel: Steep Terrain Harvesting Systems

Topics: Skyline Logging: New Approaches to Traditional Systems, Steep Slope Logging, and Tethered Assist


with optional practical application activity

12:30 PM

Facilitated Conversations on the morning’s topics

Continue the discussion: The key elements of making forest restoration work economically viable

Panel: A Grounded Approach: Soil Considerations for Harvesting

Topics: Soil Matters: Improving Forest Landscape Planning and Management for Diverse Objectives with Soils Information and Expertise, Soil Resources Management for Logging in Steep Slopes, Interaction of Steep Slope Equipment with Soil Resources

Panel: Cutting Edge Technologies for Sale Layout and Implementation (Part 2)

Topics: Tablet applications for Implementing Silvicultural Prescriptions, Forest Restoration in the Tablet & Smart Phone era: Marking and Realtime Monitoring using the ICO APP, and Non-contact tree measurement for forest harvesting machines

Panel: Designation Methods: Lessons Learned

Topics: Alternative Contracting Methods and Implementation Strategies for Commercial Harvest, DxP and DxD

Facilitated Conversation on Afternoon Topics

or optional practical application activity

Dinner on your own

Enjoy one of the many area dining options at your leisure.

6:00 PM
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