Driven by a connection with fire and natural environments, Katie Sauerbrey (they/them), fosters a passion for reconnecting people with fire across Oregon landscapes. They have over a decade of experience working for government and non-profit organizations in both fire suppression and prescribed fire management, currently working as the Oregon Fire Program Director for The Nature Conservancy. After beginning a career in fire management during undergraduate studies, Katie received an MS in Environmental Science and Policy from Northern Arizona University with a focus on public acceptability of smoke from prescribed fire.
Katie is passionate about incorporating best-available science into land management planning, and partnering with researchers on prescribed burns to broaden knowledge about fire processes. They are also committed to inclusivity within fire management and believe that the more diverse our fire workforce, the better off our management practices will be, resulting in healthier ecosystems. In Katie’s spare time, they enjoy trail-running, exploring fire scars to analyze fire effects, back-country skiing, and snuggling with their dog Finn.
Colby was born and raised in Sutherlin, OR. His career in wildland fire began in 1998 while working for Douglas Forest Protection Association (DFPA) on the youth county crew during the summer. He continued working for DFPA through the next few summers while attending school at Western Oregon University. In 2003, he began working for his tribe’s Natural Resources Department at the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde as a wildland firefighter filling multiple roles as an engine boss and crew boss for the Fire Protection Program. Colby continued his schooling remotely at University of Idaho, completing a certificate program in Wildfire Ecology, Technology, and Fire Management, while working full time at the Tribe’s Natural Resources Department in different roles. In 2015, Colby became the Fire Management Officer for CTGR and fulfilled this role for 5 years. Currently, he is the Natural Resources Department Manager for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde serving the tribal membership.
Member At Large
Sean has 34 years of Wildland Fire Suppression, Prescribed Fire and Natural Resource Management experience, with the last 32 years being with Grayback Forestry. He began his career in 1988 with Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) as an Engine Crewman in Cave Junction Oregon, in addition worked in the 89 and 90 as an Interagency Rappeler. He has worked his way up through the ranks at Grayback Forestry doing all phases of wildfire suppression, prescribed burning, fuel reduction, forestry and sivi-culture management, he has operated as a Burn Boss 1, Prescribed Fire Manager, Strike Team Leader, Task Force Leader, and Division Supervisor. Grayback has developed the Unmanned Aviation System (UAS) Program and Sean is the program manager of UAS at Grayback Forestry. Sean has been Grayback’s prescribed fire program manager since 2002. He maintains a hands-on management style and is well versed in all aspects of crew operations, prescribed burning, and wildfire suppression. He is responsible for the daily operations, recruiting, training, and safety of all personnel at this base. Sean is a Certified L1 Trainer for the National Wildland Fire Suppression Association (NWSA) and an active member on the training committee.
Over the last 30+ years Sean’s passion for forest health has become a priority to make a difference in leading the reintroduction of Prescribed Fire on the landscape to help reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires. He is an active member of many collaborative groups in the Rogue Valley. A contributing member of the Illinois Valley Fire Resilience Oversight Group (IVFROG) working to spread knowledge of forest management, prescribed burning and wildfire suppression to residents of the Illinois Valley. Working to study and develop new ideas with collaborative partners in the community to treat the heavy fuel loading of the forest and restore to a fire resilient ecosystem. Sean is a voting member of the Oregon Prescribed Fire Council (OPFC) and heavily involved in prescribed burning in Southwest Oregon.
Sean spends his free time with family, golfing, hiking and exploring anything outdoors!