State of the West Symposium: Wildfires in the West

Tue March 30th 2021, 2:00 - 3:30pm
Wildfires have burned in the American West from time out of mind, well before humans entered the region. But recent years have seen an unprecedented explosion in the size and number of fires. They have scorched millions of acres, claimed thousands of lives, inflicted billions in property losses, spewed tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and polluted the air for millions of westerners. This symposium will address the causes and costs of western wildfires, and will explore possible futures for regional fire-management.

The State of the West symposium is a gathering at Stanford to take stock of the economic and fiscal health of the Western region. It features academic researchers, business and investment practitioners, and other stakeholders concerned with the well-being of the millions of Americans who dwell on the sunset side of the 100th meridian.

The 2021 iteration of the symposium will occur virtually and in three parts spread over the winter and spring of 2021. "Wildfires in the West" is the title of the second program and will consist of two back-to-back panel sessions on March 30.

Session 1: Causes and Costs
Tuesday, March 30, 2:00 p.m.

Kimiko Barrett
Research and Policy Analyst, Headwaters Economics

Kimi has a deep interest in rural landscapes and the people who live there. Born and raised in Bozeman, Montana, she appreciates the outdoors and the intimate connections people have with the land. After obtaining undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Japanese, Kimi completed a Master’s in Geography from Montana State University and a Ph.D. in Forestry from University of Montana. Her doctorate research focused on climate change impacts in high mountain ecosystems and took her to remote places in the western Himalayas. Kimi enjoys engaging with people on complex issues such as community resilience, adaptation, and vulnerability.

Kari Nadeau
Director, Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research
Professor and Section Chief, Allergy and Asthma, Stanford School of Medicine
Sr. Director, Clinical Research, Hospital Medicine at Stanford

Dr. Kari Nadeau is one of the foremost experts in adult and pediatric immunology, allergy and asthma. She is the Director of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University and is an endowed professor under the Naddisy Family Foundation in Medicine, with joint appointment in Pediatrics and courtesy appointments in Otolaryngology and Epidemiology/Population Health Departments. Her research group resides in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine.

She leads a team of specialists spanning areas as diverse as climate change, enrvironmental justice, asthma, and immunology; adult medicine; pediatric medicine; COVID research, otolaryngology; gastroenterology; pulmonology; genetics; health research and policy, statistics, and informatics; immunity, transplant, and infectious diseases; psychology; pathology; chemical engineering; preventative medicine; and bioengineering.

Her medical research and clinical practice, in addition to her accomplishments in drug development in the biotech industry, have given her the tools to manage the complex web of immunology, asthma and allergy research.

Stephen Pyne
Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University

Steve Pyne is an emeritus professor at Arizona State University. He has been at ASU since 1985.  In 1986 he joined the charter faculty at ASU West, where he remained for 10 years. He transferred to the School of Life Sciences in 1999.

He has published 35 books, most of them dealing with fire, but others on Antarctica, the Grand Canyon, the Voyager mission, and with his oldest daughter, an inquiry into the Pleistocene. His fire histories include surveys of America, Australia, Canada, Europe (including Russia), and the Earth. 

The Ice: A Journey to Antarctica was named by the New York Times to its 10 best books for 1987. Fire in America: A Cultural History of Wildland and Rural Fire won the Forest History Society's best book award. He has twice been awarded NEH Fellowships, twice been a fellow at the National Humanities Center, enjoyed a summer Fulbright Fellowship to Sweden, and has received a MacArthur Fellowship (1988-1993).  In 1995 he received the Robert Kirsch Award from the Los Angeles Times for body-of-work contribution to American letters.


Session 2: Lessons and Future Policy Challenges
Tuesday, March 30, 2:45 p.m.

Wade Crowfoot
Secretary, California Natural Resources Agency

Wade Crowfoot was appointed California’s Natural Resources Secretary by Governor Gavin Newsom in January 2019.

Secretary Crowfoot oversees an agency of 19,000 employees who protect and manage California’s natural resources. This includes the state’s forests and natural lands, rivers and waterways, coast and ocean, fish and wildlife, and energy development. As a member of the Governor’s cabinet, he advises the Governor on natural resources and environmental issues.

Prior to leading the Natural Resources Agency, Crowfoot served as chief executive officer of the Water Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropy that builds shared water solutions across the American West. Before that Crowfoot served in Governor Jerry Brown’s Administration as deputy cabinet secretary and senior advisor to the Governor. He also previously served as West Coast regional director for the Environmental Defense Fund and a senior environmental advisor to then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Secretary Crowfoot received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996 and earned a master’s degree in public policy from the London School of Economics in 2004, graduating with honors.

Hilary Franz
Commissioner, Washington State Department of Natural Resources

Elected in 2016, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz protects and manages nearly six million acres of public lands in Washington State – from coastal waters and aquatic reserves, to working forests and farms, to commercial developments and recreation areas. Commissioner Franz is committed to ensuring our public lands are healthy and productive, both today and for future generations. 

She is leading the push to make Washington’s lands resilient in the face of climate change, investing in carbon sequestration and clean energy with wind, solar, and geothermal infrastructure.

Jared Polis
Governor, State of Colorado

Governor Jared Polis is an entrepreneur, education leader, and public servant. After launching several successful companies, Governor Polis committed himself to making sure other Coloradans had the opportunity to pursue their dreams through founding schools for at-risk students and new immigrants and started nonprofits to help veterans. Prior to serving as Governor, Polis served on the State Board of Education and represented Colorado's 2nd Congressional district.

Event Moderator

David M. Kennedy
Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Emeritus
Co-Founding Director, The Bill Lane Center for the American West

Professor Kennedy received the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1988. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in history in 2000 for Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War. He received an A.B. in History from Stanford University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University.

Reflecting his interdisciplinary training in American Studies, which combined the fields of history, literature, and economics, Professor Kennedy’s scholarship is notable for its integration of economic and cultural analysis with social and political history. His 1970 book, Birth Control in America: The Career of Margaret Sanger, embraced the medical, legal, political, and religious dimensions of the subject and helped to pioneer the emerging field of women’s history. Over Here: The First World War and American Society (1980) used the history of American involvement in World War I to analyze the American political system, economy, and culture in the early twentieth century. Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War (1999) recounts the history of the United States in the two great crises of the Great Depression and World War II.