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Lightning Strikes Twice

My name is Eric Evenson and I am excited to be joining the incredible team at the North Atlantic Fire Science Exchange. I have known Erin, Amanda, and Nick for quite some time and serving the fire and forest communities the way they do is exactly what I am all about. Some of you may know me, but for others here is my “electrifying” story. (Let me quickly clarify that it is only electrifying in the sense that lightning played a big part of it.)

I observed a very close lightning strike at age seven in my home state of Wisconsin and I knew right then and there I wanted to be a meteorologist. That event ultimately led to a career with the National Weather Service (NWS), which spanned 33 years in several different offices across the country. I started in Portland, Maine before moving on to Great Falls, Montana and then landing my dream job forecasting severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in Kansas City, Missouri. It was then off to Boise, Idaho and finally Burlington, Vermont. During my time in Boise lightning would once again change everything for me. A dry lightning event started many small fires in and around Boise and driving into work that night with fire visible everywhere had me hooked on fire weather. Upon arriving in Burlington, Vermont (1999) I was fortunate enough to join the offices’ fire weather team and help serve the fire and forest community not just locally, but also as the NWS Liaison to the Fire Science Working Team of the Northeast Compact. And just when I thought it could not get any better I became an Incident Meteorologist (IMET) and provided onsite weather support at large wildfires. My 22 years as an IMET took me to wildfires all across the country as well as a six week assignment in Australia. I am lucky to say that fire weather became my second dream job and who says lightning never strikes twice, right?

Looking back at all of my NWS endeavors I am most proud of my willingness to serve others. I mentored many young meteorologists, served on the IMET Training Cadre, and engaged with the fire and forest community locally (NWS Burlington), regionally (Northeast Compact), and nationally (IMET). I knew after retiring from the NWS (May of 2022) I wanted to stay involved in the fire and forest community. To be a part of the North Atlantic Fire Science Exchange will be the perfect opportunity to continue serving this community.


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