Karin Riley

Research Scientist


Doctor of Philosophy
PhD, 2012, Geosciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT
Master's Degree
MS, 2002, Environmental Systems, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
Undergraduate Degree
AB, 1996, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Geological Option, Harvard and Radcliffe Universities, Cambridge, MA



Geoscientist, Systems for Environmental Management, 8/2009-present
Contractor stationed at USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, Montana. Projects include: calculation of risk to terrestrial carbon stocks and expected emissions for the continental US, tree-level spatial model for the continental US, modeling of change in burn probabilities under climate change, and validation of FSim Large Fire Simulator’s national burn probability and flame length outputs.


Postdoctoral Researcher, Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group, University of Montana, 2/2013 – present
Research focusses on modeling of vegetation and wildfire interactions under climate change scenarios.

Doctoral Research, University of Montana, 9/2003 - 9/2012
Statistical analysis of frequency-magnitude distributions of debris flows and fire severity patch sizes. Kinematic GPS collection of post-fire debris flow perimeters. Use of drought and fire danger indices in predicting fire occurrence. In-situ collection and analysis of spectral signatures of post-fire materials in recently burned areas using field spectroradiometer.

Research Assistant, National Center for Landscape Fire Analysis, University of Montana, Missoula, 9/2003 - 7/2004
Researched institutional structure of wildfire management in the United States and information transfer between organizations.

Masters Research, HSU, 9/1998 - 9/2001
Narrative analysis of mass media publications on wildfire. Interviewed local and indigenous people of the Klamath Mountains in northern California regarding their traditional ecological knowledge of wildfire behavior and applications of fire for ecosystem management.

Society Affiliations

Board member, Association for Fire Ecology (1/2012 - current)
Co-chair, joint conference between Association for Fire Ecology and International Association of Wildland Fire being organized for May 2014 (8/2012-current)
Member, American Geophysical Union
Secretary, Graduation Student Association, University of Montana (2005-2006)

Committee Appointments

Conference committee, Association for Fire Ecology (8/2011 - current)

Journal Referee

Journal of Forestry