I am Wesley Ryan Hall, but I go by Ryan. I am the fire intern at Kings Mountain National Military Park in South Carolina. I claim my hometown as Memphis, TN, but have also lived in Meridian, MS, Fort Worth, TX, and Phoenix, AZ. With such diversity of places lived, I had to choose a field that provides a multitude of environments and situations. Forestry is what I chose for my undergraduate degree.
I received my Bachelors of Science in Forestry from Mississippi State University, where fire is a hot topic and is described as an effective forest management tool. I have forestry field experience ranging from planting to inventorying, but no fire experience. As a result, I sought to further my knowledge of wildland fire and participate in this new internship. South Carolina was a perfect fit for my internship headquarters, because that is where I will attend school next. In mid-August, I will begin graduate school at Clemson University majoring in City and Regional Planning with a concentration in environmental planning. This degree covers everything from planning for urban growth to water resource planning for a region to designing neighborhoods and parks. An urban planner must have knowledge of the surrounding natural resources and the potential threats and benefits that the resources provide. Fire is a critical yet often overlooked aspect of urban planning, and I hope to utilize my new understanding of fire from this internship into the profession.
From this internship, I am gaining hands-on fire experience to better understand the impacts of wildland fires upon the natural resources and nearby cities. Through tough and challenging work, I hope to gain additional knowledge and respect for fire. The hard work and higher understanding of fire will be applied into my future employment, whether it is natural resources management or regional environmental planning. Along with continuing to fight wildland fires, I plan to utilize skills learned in this internship to educate both individuals and potentially municipalities on effective ways to mitigate wildland/urban interface fire threats.