About the Idaho Prescribed Fire Council

Executive Committee

Heather Heward headshot

Chair

Heather Heward is a Senior Instructor at the University of Idaho. She started in fire in 2002 as a seasonal firefighter and learned early on how powerful of a tool prescribed fire can be. The classes she teaches at the University of Idaho center around fuels and fire management with a focus on prescribed fire. She is the faculty advisor for the Students Association for Fire Ecology (SAFE) club and is able to take students on several prescribed burns a year with various partners around the country. She has had many wonderful mentors that have worked on the development of the Idaho Prescribed Fire Council for many years and is excited to be a part of the first round of leadership.

Heather has a master's degree in Fire Ecology and Management from the University of Idaho and is starting her Ph.D. in Adult Organizational Learning and Leadership where she hopes to study how to improve the education and training in wildland fire management. She has an amazingly supportive husband and three fire-ready kids.

Matthew Ward headshot

Vice-Chair

Matthew Ward is the Watershed Manager in Eastern Idaho for The Nature Conservancy. As the Watershed Manager, Matthew leads TNC’s prescribed fire program and our forest restoration efforts in eastern Idaho. Matthew also manages the Conservancy’s Flat Ranch Preserve, a 1,600-acre working cattle ranch, learning and research center, and community gathering place located along the Upper Henrys Fork in Island Park. Since taking over management in 2012, Matthew has focused on; adjusting our grazing management system to improve habitat heterogeneity and native plant abundance; wetland and riparian restoration; and community outreach and engagement.

Matthew started working for The Nature Conservancy in 2010 as a Land Steward in Western Montana where he managed over 100,000 acres of forest land that TNC purchased from Plum Creek Timber Company. Before working for The Nature Conservancy, Matthew worked for the University of Montana’s Forest Ecology Lab, the University of Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and the U.S. Forest Service.

Matthew spends his summers in Island Park and winters in Driggs. He is married and has 11-year-old son.

Matthew holds a BA in Geography from the University of Montana.

Brett Alan Miller headshot

Outreach Coordinator

Brett Alan Miller is a postdoctoral researcher for the Department of Society & Conservation in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation at the University of Montana who studies collaborative governance of wildland fire in cross-boundary social-ecological systems. He is also a research partner on the “Co-Management of Fire Risk Transmission” project, funded through the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Brett’s research focuses on finding and implementing applied solutions as part of collaborative teams, such as the Southwestern Forest Restoration Initiative, which is dedicated to funding efforts that reduce high-severity, stand replacing fires through forest restoration.

Brett earned his Ph.D. in Environmental, Community, and Natural Resource Sociology from Utah State University with a secondary emphasis in Climate Adaptation Science. His Master of Science in Natural Resources was earned at the University of Idaho where he also earned a Bioregional Planning Certificate with an emphasis on rural community development. Currently, Brett is pleased to live in Boise, Idaho with his wife and son. He and is family love the people and landscapes of Idaho, from the southeast to the northern panhandle.

Jennifer Russell headshot

Treasurer

Jennifer Russell is the Prevention, Education, and Outreach Specialist for the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL). She is also a Type 2 public information officer and participates in wildland fire suppression efforts across the country. “Talking fire” is her passion and she takes every opportunity to help educate the public about all aspects of fire, from wildland urban interface issues and Firewise practices to emergency communications during a wildfire incident.

She received a Master’s Degree in Forestry and Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Management from Southern Illinois University in 2000, and has been working in natural resources ever since. Prior to prevention work at the Fire Bureau of the IDL, she wrote and managed Landscape Scale Restoration (LSR) grants in the Bureau of Forestry Assistance, bringing over 3 million dollars of federal money to Idaho for restoration work on state, tribal, and private lands.

Brad Tucker headshot

Secretary

Brad Tucker is the Environmental Planning Manager with Northwest Management, Inc. in Moscow, Idaho. In this role, he manages collaborative projects with multiple stakeholders and frequently works with a broad diversity of team members to develop and/or update a variety of community wildfire protection plans and hazard mitigation documents. Mr. Tucker also plays a significant role in managing Northwest Management’s prescribed burning activities, federal/state wildfire contracts, and wildfire training.

Brad graduated from Hocking College in Ohio with an Associate’s Degree in Recreation and Wildlife Management in 2000. He then worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a forest technician collecting a wide variety of data associated with the Fire and Fire Surrogate study on the Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest in southeast Ohio. Mr. Tucker moved to Idaho in 2005 to begin school at the University of Idaho. He graduated from the University of Idaho in 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Resources.

Advisory Board

  • Michael Johnston - USFS
  • Leda Kobziar - University of Idaho
  • Jeff Handel - Nez Perce Tribe
  • Mark Boyle - Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
  • Lonnie Newton - BLM
  • Jim Forsythe - US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Susan Cleverley - Idaho Office of Emergency Management
  • Kyle McCormick - FEMA Region 10