Bill Cole

Mike Wotton
Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services Branch
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
70 Foster Drive
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Fire Science and Technology Program Leader
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Adjunct Professor
Faculty of Forestry

List of publications

Bill Cole is the Fire Science and Technology Program Leader for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services Branch, located in Sault Ste. Marie. Bill earned his B.S. in forestry from the University of Illinois-Urbana in 1983, his M.S. in forest ecology from Michigan State University in 1986, and his Ph.D. in quantitative silviculture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991.

Bill joined the Ontario MNRF in 1992 and worked as a research scientist in Great Lakes silviculture and forest ecology from 1992-2007. He was the lead research scientist for Great Lakes-St. Lawrence hardwood silviculture and forest ecology research program and projects, including Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest silviculture and management, old-growth white pine stand dynamics, and forest-lake shoreline coarse wood input and fish habitat ecology. He is senior or second author on 14 peer-reviewed publications and 13 MNR technical reports. Bill has been senior or co-author on research grant proposals resulting in grant awards of more than $2.5M.

Bill became an adjunct associate professor in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Toronto in 2004 and has served as an external thesis advisor for one masters and two Ph.D. students in forestry. In 2008, Bill became a research coordinator, responsible for the leadership and management of five research programs (forest landscape ecology, forest genetics, growth and yield modelling, forest soils and hydrology, and tree and forest biochemistry). Bill co-lead the development of a strong collaborative research partnership agreement between the U of T Faculty of Forestry and the MNRF.

In 2012, Bill moved from the MNRF forest research unit to the Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services Branch to lead the Fire Science and Technology Program, which is responsible for information technology, information management, and applied forest fire research and technology innovation projects supporting the ministry’s forest fire management, aviation services and emergency management programs. Bill leads the research program, mostly through external collaborative research projects with universities. Current projects focus on operational forest fire management decision support, emergency response centre situational awareness, fire equipment design and innovation, and forest firefighter health and wellness.

In his free time, Bill enjoys golfing, playing acoustic guitar and the double bass, kayaking, and three-cushion billiards.