Fire Forward: Cooperative Burn and Capacity Development Program

Consulting Program Director

Audubon Canyon Ranch, non-profit nature conservation organization

October 2018 - present

As Consulting Director of the Fire Forward Program for Audubon Canyon Ranch, Sasha is leading a regional cooperative fire program in the North Bay Area. This position entails leading and managing the Fire Forward Program team and coordinating with the network of teams across the non-profit organization as well as diverse cooperating organizations and agencies across the Bay Area, including through the development of partnership MOAs. A key component of this position is the complete planning and coordination of fuels treatments and prescribed burns, including but not limited to: site-visits/reconnaissance, physical unit prep using chainsaws and hand tools, writing complete prescribed burn plans and prescriptions, obtaining permits from and coordinating with regulatory state and local fire agencies and air quality regulators, developing outreach materials from newspaper and radio content to hosting neighbors’ informational meetings, hiring the contractors, and managing the burn event itself. In addition to planning, coordinating, and conducting fuels treatments, Dr. Berleman also develops, implements, analyses and writes up the monitoring protocol and results in order to track effectiveness of treatments and communicate findings to other managers and the scientific community. This role as Consulting Director also entails frequent public presentations and media interviews, on average at least once per month. Additionally, in this position Sasha manages the budgets, finds new funding sources, develops grant proposals and writes grant reports, purchases and manages equipment currently totaling $1.5 million, and develops the program vision for future years. Finally, through this position, Sasha assists in the leadership of local cooperative organizations such as the Good Fire Alliance and Bay Area Prescribed Fire Council, and participates in meetings at the state level in Sacramento with CAL FIRE and the California State Fire Marshall.

Wildland Fire Resiliency Program

Pre-Fire Planning, Field Mapping and Public Outreach/ Presentation Development

Mid-Peninsula Open Space District

June 2019 - present

Dr. Berleman is contributing expertise in a variety of ways to assist this project, including field assessment and mapping of fire risk, expected fire behavior, and pre-fire mapping of infrastructure and fire-fighting points of interest such as lookouts, gates, shaded fuel breaks, and safety zones. This also includes developing and providing public outreach and presentation materials to assist in communications of fire ecology, fire history, and fire management to the highly interested public. As the project progresses, Sasha will also be involved in fuels treatment and prescribed fire plan and prescription development, as well as some monitoring development and implementation.   


North Orinda Shaded Fuel Break Project

Prescribed Burn Plan Development

Moraga-Orinda Fire District

September 2019 - present 

Dr. Berleman co-leads the development and preparation of prescribed burn plans for this project. The fuel break is a 14-mile long vegetation management effort along major roads, population centers, neighborhoods and critical infrastructure in the east bay area. Sasha's role on this project is assessing fuels treatment units across the numerous project areas throughout the fuel break and developing burn plans for each individual burn unit. Burn plans will be used to implement prescribed fire maintenance treatments across the fuel break in perpetuity. These plans significantly reduce liability to the party leading implementation by showing due diligence, and streamline planning efforts for implementing each burn. Burn plan development includes the field work/ reconnaissance, strategic guidance, complexity/risk analysis and justification, job hazard analysis development, mapping, and fire behavior modeling, in addition to the core elements of a burn plan. Because treatment units are spanned across many ownerships and jurisdictions, developed plans must reflect these dynamic scenarios and associated protocols.

Prescribed Fire Training Exchanges

Coach, Trainer, Leader, Incident Management Team Support

The Nature Conservancy and Fire Learning Network

January 2017 - present

As a coach and leader through the network, Sasha is available to support Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX) events as needed by The Nature Conservancy and through the Fire Learning Network. This work has entailed participating in TREX Incident Management Teams providing support with components including but not limited to logistics, plans, burn plan review, module leadership, and participant coaching. Sasha has also supported federal lands fire operations as an hired contractor.


Prescribed Fire Planning and Capacity Improvement

Programmatic Prescribed Burn Plan Development and Program Advising

East Bay Regional Park District

April 2018 - May 2019

On this project, Dr. Berleman developed comprehensive and diligent modern burns for the East Bay Regional Park District to support a revitalization of the agencies prescribed burn program and to aid them in maintaining their existing fuels treatment units. In this position, Sasha developed two programmatic burn plan templates for the district, one for their grassland fuel models and one for their woodland/mixed fuel models. To accompany these, Sasha then also developed a site-specific prescribed burn plan to go with each of the two templates to demonstrate to the park how the templates could be utilized to streamline the site-specific burn plan development and maintenance process. Burn plan development included the field work/ reconnaissance, strategic guidance, complexity/risk analysis and justification, job hazard analysis development, mapping, and fire behavior modeling, in addition to the core elements of a burn plan. Sasha also provided general guidance around burn program management, strategy, project implementation, and public outreach to distict fire agency management.