Student Firefighter Association

A Remembrance of Joe Philpott—BLM Smokejumper/CSU Forestry Student/SFA member

SFA Meeting: Poudre Fire Authority Recruiting Night  Forestry 212  Wednesday March 13 5PM

Discipulus de Ignis – “Student of Fire”


“If you choose to lead others you will have a legacy. But that legacy will be determined by those that follow you. I suppose I would want my legacy be that firefighters begin to realize the importance of being a student of fire and that I was able to help make that happen.” Paul Gleason 2003

Watch Paul Gleason’s 2001 S490 presentation on Lessons Learned—Cerro Grande

The Colorado State University’s Student Firefighter Association (SFA), is an association comprised of active, past, and aspiring wildland firefighters, students, professors and researchers.

Our goal is to generate a network of active fire managers, those new to fire, and those researching and teaching about fire. Through this network we hope to improve the fire science education received at CSU, provide greater career training and job opportunities, develop a stronger tie with active fire management practitioners and initiate a cohort of “students of fire” at CSU, both active students and alumni.

We also want to acknowledge the tremendous contributions to fire education and especially firefighter safety made by Paul Gleason who taught Fire Science here at CSU.

The Warner College of Natural Resources is working to endow a scholarship in memory of Paul Gleason, providing support to future “students of fire,” lessening the financial burden of their education.  To make a gift, please click here.

Meetings are held monthly in the Forestry Building on the CSU campus. We have a diverse speaker series both local and national-level in scope. We also do outreach project work and training such as fuels thinning, slash burning, WUI assessments and S-series classes.
In addition, we are developing relationships for experiential training through fire management agencies, skills training and qualification, career counseling and increased interaction with CSU alumni in fire management.

Contact SFA at

Standard Fire Orders (10-18)

Ten Standard Fire Orders

Fire Behavior

  1. Keep informed on fire weather conditions and forecasts.
  2. Know what your fire is doing at all times.
  3. Base all actions on current and expected behavior of the fire.

Fireline Safety

  1. Identify escape routes and make them known.
  2. Post lookouts when there is possible danger.
  3. Be alert. Keep calm. Think clearly. Act decisively.

Organizational Control

  1. Maintain prompt communications with your forces, your supervisor and adjoining forces.
  2. Give clear instructions and insure they are understood.
  3. Maintain control of your forces at all times.

If 1-9 are considered, then…

  1. Fight fire agressively, having provided for safety first.

The 10 Standard Fire Orders are firm. We don’t break them; we don’t bend them. All firefighters have the right to a safe assignment.


  1. Fire not scouted and sized up.
  2. In country not seen in daylight.
  3. Safety zones and escape routes not identified.
  4. Unfamiliar with weather and local factors influencing fire behavior.
  5. Uninformed on strategy, tactics, and hazards.
  6. Instructions and assignments not clear.
  7. No communication link between crewmembers and supervisors.
  8. Constructing line without safe anchor point.
  9. Building line downhill with fire below.
  10. Attempting frontal assault on fire.
  11. Unburned fuel between you and the fire.
  12. Cannot see main fire, not in contact with anyone who can.
  13. On a hillside where rolling material can ignite fuel below.
  14. Weather gets hotter and drier.
  15. Wind increases and/or changes direction.
  16. Getting frequent spot fires across line.
  17. Terrain or fuels make escape to safety zones difficult.
  18. Feel like taking a nap near fireline.
Fire Banner
“A Student of Fire”
The Paul Gleason Wildland Fire Scholarship

Paul Gleason was a highly skilled and respected wildland firefighter who dedicated his 38-year field career to improving firefighting safety for his many colleagues. He is perhaps best known and remembered for developing the firefighting protocol referred to as LCES (Lookouts, Communications, Escape routes, Safety zones), which is now taught to all wildland firefighters.

As an expert in firefighting operations, fire behavior, and fire ecology, Paul worked on more than 500 wildland and prescribed fires throughout the United States. He was a highly regarded Hot Shot Superintendent, Fire Management Officer, fuels manager, and fire ecologist. Paul received numerous awards for heroism on the line, management accomplishments, and contributions to wildland fire.  He considered himself a lifelong “student of fire.”


If you choose to lead others you will have a legacy. But that legacy will be determined by those that follow you. I suppose I would want my legacy to be that firefighters begin to realize the importance of being a student of fire and that I was able to help make that happen.” — Paul Gleason

After reaching the mandatory firefighter retirement age of 55 in 2001, Paul served at Colorado State University as a well-loved adjunct Professor of Fire Science until his untimely death from cancer in 2003.  In the classroom, Paul was renowned for his engaging style as an instructor.

Make a Gift


Paul was a true leader and mentor to thousands of people. In honor of his unwavering commitment to firefighting, the safety of his colleagues, and sharing his knowledge, the Paul Gleason Wildland Fire Scholarship was established to annually fund a fire science student at CSU.

From 2003 to 2014, that scholarship has successfully enabled 9 deserving students to pursue their studies and goals the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship.

In 2010, Sheila and Ken Till, longtime friends of Paul’s and fellow firefighters, became aware that his memorial scholarship was in need of funding. Sheila, who currently is the budget director for the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins, and Ken, who is retired after a 35-year-career in fire management for the U.S. Forest Service and the National Parks Service, decided to endow the scholarship 
 through an estate gift.


Both Sheila and I worked two or three jobs going to school, so we know how tough it can be. We wanted to help future students in fire and land management, and supporting this scholarship is a way we can do that. It’s very important that we keep that legacy alive – not only Paul’s, but ours as well. Paul and I were on the same wavelength on so many things, including how we mitigate catastrophic fires, and bring every firefighter home safely.” — Ken Till


The Till’s generous estate gift will eventually fund the scholarship several years down the road. Until then, the Student Firefighter Association and the Warner College of Natural Resources are committed to raising funds each year to continue supporting the scholarship. We are currently within $5,000 of the $25,000 needed to anchor this scholarship as a permanent endowment, forever establishing the scholarship as a source of support for eager students, and a special commemoration of Paul’s extraordinary life and contributions. Please join us in this worthy endeavor – every gift counts!


We live in an era in which wildfires are becoming more frequent and complex, and are increasingly impacting society. Your gift is both timely and important. If you have made a donation before, please renew your support today. If you are not yet a donor, but a wildfire has impacted you or someone you know – or you have been seen the catastrophic devastation caused by wildfires – this scholarship is a great opportunity to help educate and equip the next generation of firefighters.

All contributions continue the legacy of Paul Gleason and ensures that the new “students of fire” are ready to following in Paul’s footsteps in Colorado State’s renowned fire science program.

The Jack S. Barrows and John H. Dieterich Scholarship in Fire and Atmospheric Science

Jack Barrows was a 1937 CSU graduate in forest management. He was an international specialist in forest fire research and management and was instrumental in developing the forest fire science concentration at Colorado State. This scholarship was established in 1989 by Lillian Anderson Barrows, his life long friend John H. Dieterich and his friends. In 2000, John H. Dieterich added to the endowment of the scholarship and the name was changed with Lillian’s permission to reflect John’s renewed commitment. John H. Dieterich retired in 1983 after more than 33 years with the U.S. Forest Service, working predominantly in research relating to fire control methods and fire effects. John has published widely in professional journals and in-service reports in the areas of fire behavior and fire effects. John also served in various capacities in regional and national professional forestry and research organizations such as Southwest Fire Council and Society of American Foresters.

Criteria of Scholarship

The recipient of this scholarship must be a full-time student with an interest in atmospheric or fire science who has completed his or her second year at Colorado State University and have and maintain a 2.5 grade point average. If the recipient maintains the required GPA and remains in good standing with the University, he or she will receive the scholarship again in the fourth or senior year (whichever comes first). Preference will be given to candidates with fire experience.

Number of Scholarships Awarded:  1

Dollar Amount of Scholarship:  $3,200

This page features researchers and their research in all aspects of fire science at CSU. The Forestry and Fire Sciences Program at CSU has a long and well regarded history of fire research from fire management to fire economics to fire ecology. We will soon post information on a number of researchers and their projects. Stay Tuned!

Click here to view a list of some of CSU’s Fire Science graduates

Spring 2009:  Inaugural S130-190 Class a Success

SFA teamed up with the Colorado State Forest Service to implement the basic firefighter class (S130-190) for WCNR students this Spring in an effort to expand training and qualification opportunities for students. The class was full and included two WCNR faculty.

Taught as a hybrid format, the class included use of the newly released NWCG self-paced training cd system, a full group review day, and a field training exercise day. Key support by CSFS Engine Captain Matt Branch and assistant Todd Rufner provided the critical NWCG sponsorship and technical expertise to present such a course. In addition, generous contributions of time and expertise by FRWS grad students and professional firefighters Shelli Mavor (USFS), David Frey (USFS), Kate Cueno (NPS) and Matt Schiltz (BLM) provided a synergy between fire service and academics.

All students passed and most responded that the hybrid format worked well in terms of learning on their own time/convenience and still getting an expert review session and field training.

We hope to bring more courses to campus in order to further Paul Gleason’s “Student of Fire” philosophy through better training and opportunities to experience fire while enrolled at CSU.