Lindon Pronto

MYSTERY RANCH Fire Ambassador


Colfax, California, USA


Aschau, Germany


Senior Fire Management Expert – European Forest Institute (Bonn, Germany), In-house Consultant – Pau Costa Foundation (Spain), Freelance consultant

My story is a bit crazy, so here goes…

The first years of my life were lived on a U.S. Forest Service compound… and with my dad spending his entire career in fire, I guess I never escaped the fire world. By age 5 I was cutting fireline and helping with prescribed burning around the property; but I actually never wanted to become a wildland firefighter until maybe when I was 14 and a neighbors burn pile escaped. We caught it at maybe a tenth of an acre before CalFire arrived – but somehow I was hooked. So I did all my basic training when I was 17, and joined a Fuels / Type II IA / Fire-Use Training Module on the Tahoe National Forest after I turned 18. Between 2007 and 2014 I spent alternating between fire seasons and getting two undergraduate degrees. When I was in college I wove the fire topic into my studies and when I was on the fireline I was also applying my analytical mind to the fire world. Starting in 2012 I was one of the first dudes that started to speak up about the working conditions, pay discrepancies, etc. of federal wildland firefighters and by 2013 I was simultaneously getting messages of support from Battalion Chiefs and intimidation mail from the U.S. Forest Service. After starting some petitions and getting some media attention, I was essentially faced with fighting a retribution battle or keeping my head down and focusing on responsibilities like becoming a father and looking at my continued education prospects.

In 2014 I bowed out, and moved to Germany on a full-ride scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in Environmental Governance; leaving the fire world was bittersweet. The transition wasn’t made easier when, while buried in scientific papers, I watched from Germany as the King Fire nuked my old district. In any case I had to accept and come to peace with moving away and forward, with an ambition for working on global environmental policy. Or so I thought. Just months later, I wound up at the Global Fire Monitoring Center, in the city I was studying in. That led to an internship. Then I had plane tickets to Indonesia. I was to represent the scientific interests of the German government in a workshop on biomass burning – which had become a global crisis again as deforestation and slash and burn practices in Southeast Asia was responsible for a massive amount of emissions, a near standstill on regional economies and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and premature deaths due to smoke pollution. Coming from California, where it’s easy to think one sits on the pinnacle of wildfire challenges, my mind was blown pretty quickly once I skidded into the international fire management scene. Once again I was inspired to integrate the fire topic into my studies and went on to research the science-policy-practitioner interface for brokering fire management policy in different countries around the world. I was taking change theory I was learning about and applying it to real world situations and political processes – it was all quite exhilarating. My playing field had shifted dramatically. For example the head of Fire and Aviation Management for the USFS wasn’t just a memory of a picture on the wall at the fire station, he was someone I was having dinner with, visiting or discussing multi-lateral fire management frameworks between countries; I went from griping about low firefighter pay in local newspapers to writing for the New York Times on the impact of fires on climate change; or drafting international conference statements and lobbying for the fire topic in the Paris Climate Negotiations. In the 8 years since, there has never been a dull moment and never a shortage of wildfire challenges to address or opportunities to rise to. The global wildfire community is tangibly small yet overflowing with amazing, dedicated and inspiring individuals.

Fire management is such a complex animal with the multitude of intersections with hundreds of other disciplines and topics – with a lot of big open questions.

How do we achieve an equilibrium with enough good fire and less bad fire? What about ‘in-between’ fire – fire that is good for one group or set of objectives but detrimental to others? How do you convince communities that excessive fire-use is bad when it is their life-line to income or poverty reduction? How do you fight a fire on terrain littered with unexploded munitions like in Germany or Ukraine (you certainly don’t cut line and pray the “clunk” was a rock and not a bomb… and dropping a Bambi Bucket from outside the 500m blast radius won’t do much either)? How do you deal with radioactive transboundary smoke from fires burning in contaminated areas? How do you address fire used as a weapon like between Israel and Palestine? How do you train villagers to fight fires when they barely have drinking water and many don’t have shoes? How do you reach multinational corporations responsible for deforestation in the tropics through slash and burn practices? How do you support communities to establish fire management plans while their government is undergoing a complete collapse like in Lebanon?

We may not find all the answers in this lifetime but I am grateful that each new experience and place along the way leaves an imprint on me and living a common bond and vision is what fulfills me. In sum, it’s a privilege to get to do what I love and love what do and be able to share in some impact with those around me – all while constantly be inspired and motived by all the great people, experiences and stories along the way!

Some accomplishments

  • Engaged in wildfire suppression, research, management, training, policy support and capacity building in 20+ countries in North America, Europe, Central Africa, the Middle East, Central and Southeast Asia
  • Fought fires on Engines, Handcrews and Helitack across 8 U.S. states for seven seasons
  • Recipient of Regional Forester's Honor Award in Emergency Response for the Pacific Southwest Region (U.S. Forest Service)
  • Appeared or featured in over 100 television, radio, print /online media reports internationally, ranging from New York Times to BBC WorldNews to Der Spiegel, also in various languages
  • Assisted in activities and the coordination of the UNISDR Wildland Fire Advisory Group and UNISDR Global Wildland Fire Network
  • Developed fire management plans and assessments for a variety of regions/municipalities like in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, Upper Beqaa Valley, Lebanon, West and East DRC, and Central China
  • Advised or provided input on fire management topics to ministries / governments, organizations, and international institutions / processes ranging from the Prime Minister of Portugal, to UN agencies, the European Commission, government of Indonesia or other ministerial processes
  • Equipped and trained the first five wildland firefighting brigades in the Eastern Congo and later helped develop a multi-level wildland fire training framework for the U.S. Forest Service International Programs / USAID Central Africa Program
  • Assisted in the establishment of the Regional Southeast Asia Fire Management Resource Center (Indonesia)


  • Bonn Network for International Civil Protection and Disaster Risk Reduction (Bonn, Germany)
    Northwestern European Network on Wildfire Management, (Netherlands Institute of Public Safety (NIPV), (Arnhem, Netherlands)
  • International Association of Wildland Fire
  • National Working Group on Training and Tactics of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Interior of the Federal States of Germany
  • International Wildfire X-Change expert group (Rosenbauer Group)
  • Expert Group on the pan-European Forest Risk Knowledge Mechanism of Forest Europe, Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe
  • Expert Commission Forest Fires, State of Lower-Saxony (Germany)

What MR packs do you run?

I love everything MR has to offer and since I work in such varying capacities in so many contexts it really depends on the occasion. For meetings and travel, I have absolutely enjoyed the 3 WAY BRIEFCASE EXPANDABLE and the MISSION WHEELIE as well as the 2 DAY ASSAULT. While there is a running gag that I seem to be in more than one country at the same time, it’s just me and I’ll have to in part rely on my more operational firefighting colleagues in different countries to provide valuable feedback on MR packs as we explore what the diverse needs are outside the North American market. While I’ll hit the occasional fire, I’m much more engaged in training and prescribed burning— so while I won’t be putting in many 16hr days on the fireline, I’m very excited to be introducing some of the newer MR packs to especially new fire environments in Europe and beyond. Next up for me, I’ll be carrying the BIG ERNIE – next stop, Lebanon. A Hotshot INTL pack is on its way to my buddy for its debut in Poland for a number of prescribed burns and national/international trainings. I’m also excited to get feedback on the SHIFT SC pack which I will have on loan to the Bavarian Mountain Rescue who has been recently deployed to wildfires in extremely rugged terrain in the German, Austrian and Italian Alps.

Favorite quotes

I had look these two quotes up to be precise – and admittedly they are slightly different than I remembered them. But, to be fair, I memorized them in 7th grade and they have played a ridiculously decisive role in my life… so here goes:

“The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.”
- Benjamin Disraeli

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I served and behold, service was joy.”
- Rabindranath Tagore