About

Pyrologix LLC is a wildfire threat assessment research firm providing specialized services to private companies, NGOs, state and local governments, and federal agencies in the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Homeland Security, and Interior.

Pyrologix is a subsidiary of Vibrant Planet, a Public Benefit Corporation dedicated to mitigating the effects of a changing climate and fire environment on communities and natural resources. Pyrologix is based in Missoula, Montana, a small city in the northern Rocky Mountains. Missoula is home to premier wildfire and risk science research organizations like the Missoula Fire Sciences Lab, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, and Human Dimensions Program of the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station, the National Center for Landscape Fire Analysis, and the SAF-accredited School of Forestry at the University of Montana.

Joe H.Scott, Chief Fire Scientist

Joe H. Scott, the founder and Principal Wildfire Analyst at Pyrologix, has more than two decades experience in wildland fire science research, development and application. At Pyrologix and with previous employers, Mr. Scott has led projects related to surface and canopy fuel characteristics, wildfire behavior modeling, crown fire hazard assessment, and wildfire hazard and risk assessment. Joe is the lead developer of Nexus, a fire modeling system for assessing crown fire potential; the lead developer of FireWords, an annotated, illustrated glossary of wildland fire science terminology; and the lead developer of a set of standard fire behavior fuel models for national application.

Joe earned a B.S. in Forestry and Resource Management from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.S. in Forestry from the University of Montana. He is a Certified Forester with the Society of American Foresters, where he has been a member for nearly three decades, and a Senior Fire Ecologist with the Association for Fire Ecology, where he has been a member since its inception in 2000. Mr. Scott has reviewed journal articles for Forest Science, the Forestry Chronicle, the International Journal of Wildland Fire, Fire Ecology, the Western Journal of Applied Forestry, the Canadian Journal of Forest Research, and the European Journal of Forest Research.

Please email us to request Mr. Scott’s curriculum vitae.

Jim Napoli, Senior Spatial Wildfire Analyst

Jim joined Pyrologix in early 2019 after spending more than a decade with the LANDFIRE fuel mapping team. He has ten years of experience in wildfire research, development and application, with over fifteen years of experience as a GIS-Database programmer/analyst.  His wildfire and spatial analysis expertise are grounded in previous positions with Landfire and the National Park Service. Past research work includes leveraging spatial analysis techniques to develop data processing tools for landscape- to national-scale projects; including the development of canopy fuels modeling techniques for Landfire and coordinating the development of a multi-agency fire geo-spatial data layer for the Greater Yellowstone Area.  Jim earned a B.S. in Geography/GIS from the Pennsylvania State University, M.S. in Geography/GIS for Northern Illinois University and an MBA from the University of Montana.

Chris Moran, Director of Fire Science

Chris joined Pyrologix as a Spatial Wildfire Analyst in 2019, after defending his Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Montana, and then became our Chief Fire Scientist in 2022. He has expertise in data science, remote sensing, and fire ecology with over ten years of experience in wildfire research, application, and management. He is adept at managing and processing large spatial datasets, setting up parallel processing environments, and modeling with machine learning algorithms. Past research work includes leveraging LiDAR and related 3D data to improve canopy fuel maps, evaluating fuel treatment effectiveness and the effects of mountain pine beetle-caused tree mortality, implementing research burns, burn severity mapping, and utilizing drones to assess vegetation and fire behavior interactions. Chris has a B.S. in Biology, an M.S. in Biological Sciences from South Dakota State University, and a Ph.D. in Forestry from the University of Montana, where he also continues to work as a remote sensing scientist.

Michael Callahan, Lead Software Engineer

Michael joined the Pyrologix team as a Software Engineer in 2021 after close to three years writing software for analytical chemists. Before that he worked for the Forest Service in Montana on an IA module then later a Hotshot Crew. His software development experience is in cloud computing, and application development. Michael earned his BS in Management Information Systems from the University of Montana.

Jack Campanella, Software Engineer

Jack joined Pyrologix in 2022 after working in the data ETL space building full-stack applications for business analytics and operations. Throughout his career, he has delivered data visualization tools, machine learning solutions, payment processing infrastructure, and cloud computing systems. Jack holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Montana and is based out of Boston, Massachusetts.

Melissa Jaffe, Spatial Wildfire Analyst

Melissa joined Pyrologix as a Spatial Wildfire Analyst in 2022. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Science and a B.S. in Ecosystem Management and Forestry from U.C. Berkeley, as well as a M.S. in Forestry from University of Montana. Her past research includes fire effects on forest and fuel structure and understanding the frequency and location of fires across a landscape. Her forest and fire ecology and modeling experience are enhanced by her previous field experience including working as a biometrician technician, collecting and analyzing forest structure data from various fire histories, and assisting with prescribed fires.

Dr. Matt Thompson, VP of Risk and Strategy

Matt is the Director of Applied Fire Science at Pyrologix, a subsidiary of Vibrant Planet. He is a thought leader with proven success in innovation, communication and applied research. His work pioneered new horizons in wildfire hazard and risk assessment, incident response planning, decision support, landscape fuels strategy, and performance measurement – perhaps most notably the widespread adoption of the potential operational delineations (PODs) framework and related analytics. His research interests focus primarily on risk, systems, strategy, and decision analysis. Ultimately, he aspires to inform and catalyze actionable science to address the wildfire and climate crises with urgency and dispatch. Prior to joining Pyrologix, he spent 14 years in the Human Dimensions Program at the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, where he served as a core member of the National Fire Decision Support Center and the Wildfire Risk Management Science Team. Matt has a B.S. in systems engineering from the University of Virginia, a M.S. in industrial engineering and operations research from the University of California, Berkeley, a M.S. in forest management from Oregon State University, a Ph.D. in forest engineering from Oregon State University, a professional certificate in strategic decision and risk management from Stanford University and was a Senior Executive Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.

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