Forest Service Scientist Prevented from Attending Conference

On October 31, 2017, the Scientific American reported that an employee of the Forest Service, within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), was denied approval to travel to a fire conference where he was scheduled to speak about the role climate change plays in wildfire conditions.

According to the report, William Jolly, a research ecologist with USDA’s Rocky Mountain Research Station was scheduled to give a thirty minute presentation titled “Climate-Induced Variations in Global Severe Fire Weather Conditions” at the International Fire Congress in Orlando, Florida. His request to attend the congress was denied. In a statement, USDA indicated that regional managers typically decide who gets to attend conferences based, in part, on available financial resources.  While political appointees in Washington have the final say, they do not typically weigh in on which individuals are selected.