Position Title: Ecology Assistant
Park Unit: Denali National Park and Preserve, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Wrangell - St Elias National Park and Preserve, Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Number of positions available: 1
Can this position be fully remote: NO

Duration: 12 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 01/13/2025
Flexible Start Date: YES

Weekly Stipend: $665.00
Relocation Allowance: $1,050.00

CURRENT NUMBER OF APPLICANTS: Under 75 (This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first.)

Ongoing climatic changes impact the occurrence, extent, and severity of fires in the boreal and arctic ecosystems of our National Parks and Preserves in Alaska and have cascading effects on other ecosystem processes. Wildland fire is one of the largest and most widespread disturbances in our boreal and tundra systems and exerts strong landscape-scale controls on vegetation composition and distribution, permafrost dynamics, nutrient cycling, carbon gain or loss, primary productivity, wildlife habitat, and hydrologic dynamics. For these reasons, monitoring trends in fire metrics across Alaska National Parks is critical. These fire metrics-- annual variation and long-term trends in fire frequency (number of fires/year), average fire size, maximum fire size, and total area affected by fire in our Parks--are used in a myriad of NPS reports and are of vital importance for informing Park Management. The purpose of this position is to create an automated and repeatable process of pulling fire data from various state and national databases to make brief and visually appealing graphics and short summaries of annual fire statistics that are customizable by AK park units and groupings. The goal is to have an R script that can be easily run to produce graphs and summaries that can be included in the Fire Ecology annual reports, Fire Management Plans, and Arctic Network vital sign reporting.

The impact of this project will be to reduce the repeated manual effort that is put into producing fire statistics graphics and summaries for multiple park units and reports while greatly increasing the impact of this information by making visually striking summaries that can be disseminated quickly and widely. Alaska is experiencing dramatic changes in climate including warmer temperatures, earlier snow melt and longer growing seasons – all factors that influence the pattern of fires on the landscape and their ecological effects over time. Monitoring fires provides essential information used to determine long-term trends in frequency and area burned and departures from the natural fire regime. Currently, this information is manually obtained from various datastores, and graphs are manually produced, and the process is repeated for various reporting. Because communicating annual fire patterns and decadal trends is vitally important for our parks, this position will play an important role in making this communication process much more impactful.


Proposed deliverables will include an R script that pulls annual wildfire data from various databases of fire history and creates brief reports that include graphics of basic annual fire statistics (fire frequency (number of fires/year), average fire size, maximum fire size, and total area affected by fire) and temporal trends in these statistics for Alaska National Park units. These should be brief and visually appealing. The idea is to automate this annual process and make graphic summaries easily accessible and customizable for park units and groups so that in future years these graphics reports can 1) be communicated annually to Park management in 1-2 page resource briefs and hosted on the NPS AK Fire Management webpages, 2) included in annual Fire Ecology reports and Fire Management Plans, 3) and fulfill part of the Arctic Inventory and Monitoring Network’s fire monitoring objects.


The applicant must have completed at least three years toward a degree in the biological, ecological, or natural resource management sciences with a preference for those candidates with completed coursework in fire ecology, forest science, statistics, or geographic information systems (GIS). Additional coursework in data visualization, technical writing and/or statistics will make the applicant most competitive. A working knowledge of R, ArcGIS, and strong organizational and data management skills are required. The applicant should be able to work well independently, troubleshoot technological challenges, and effectively develop, document, and communicate results.

The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. legal permanent resident (“Green Card holder”). Prior to starting this position, a government security background clearance will be required. The applicant must be available to participate for 12 Weeks in order to be considered and participate.

The applicant may choose between living in the town of Fairbanks Alaska or in Denali National Park and Preserve, though preference will be given to those interested in working from Fairbanks. The Fairbanks NPS office houses the Park staff from Yukon-Charley National Preserve, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, as well as Inventory and Monitoring staff for two NPS Networks, and is located across the road from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. With this wide range of Park staff, working in the Fairbanks NPS office is unique opportunity to network with diverse park staff that serve many roles in over eight different National Parks in Alaska. Fairbanks offers unparalleled skiing and opportunities to try various winter activities (snowshoeing, dog mushing, curling, ice carving, aurora viewing) and has all the amenities one needs (restaurants/grocery stores, entertainment, doctors/hospital, etc.).

Denali National Park and Preserve offers chances for solitude and exploration in a largely untouched landscape. Skiing, snowshoeing, and otherwise enjoying Denali's wild landscape in the least visited season –winter– is an opportunity of a lifetime. This position offers the chance to immerse oneself in the extremity of subarctic winter, experience the northern lights, view natural landscapes in transition, and live in one of the least populated areas of the country. Some food and community services are available in Healy (15 miles north of park) year-round. Larger city services are in Fairbanks, 120 miles north of the park entrance.

The work for this project is primarily computer based. Although direct supervision and support are provided by the Park’s Fire Ecologists, it is critical that applicants be self-motivated, innovative, and willing to ask for help promptly when assistance is needed. For extenuating circumstances, an applicant may opt to work remotely for part of the internship but must be present in either Fairbanks or Denali for at least first half of the internship.


  • Applicant must have a valid driver's license to drive a government vehicle.
  • A personal vehicle is recommended for this position.

Park housing is NOT available. The intern will be responsible for finding housing in the nearby area. With a duty station of Fairbanks, no housing is provided, but short-term rentals are available in the university town of ~50,000, cost ranging from ~$500-$1200. With a duty station of Denali Park, housing is provided at no cost to the participant and is a short walk from the office. Housing consists of a 20’ x 20’ cabin shared with one other person. The kitchen, dining, and living space are shared and bedrooms are private. Kitchens are stocked with basic cookware. Cabins are “dry” meaning without running water, but water is available in the nearby communal bathroom/laundry/shower house.

wildfire, statistics, visual information, trends, R coding

This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications, or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first. Once you begin applying for a position, the application must be completed in one sitting. You cannot save and return later to complete it. Applicants can apply for up to five Scientists in Parks Intern positions per winter. You need to complete a separate application for each position in order to be considered. You should receive a confirmation email after successfully submitting an application. Sometimes institutional email filters/settings can redirect or block emails related to the application. We recommend watching spam, junk, and promotional email folders in case your service delivers messages there. Please visit How to Apply for additional resources and information about applying (i.e., learn what materials to have ready for applying, find a worksheet that previews application questions, etc.)