I work for the Fire Modeling Institute (FMI) tasked with technology transfer to the field including training and mentoring in a variety of tasks such as data acquisition, data calibration, fire behavior system selection and use, and completing and interpreting fire behavior analyses. On wildfires I generally work as a Long Term Fire Analyst to conduct mid-term and long-term fire analyses and preparing Long Term Plans.
Professional interests include fire behavior analyses, evaluating fire behavior and fire effects especially during large fire-growth days, and post-fire vegetation response. She is currently focused on improving science applications and delivery in NWCG fire courses and guides, developing delivery methods to improve foundational fire behavior knowledge in the field, applying the best available science in project planning, and incorporating the concepts of wildfire risk assessment as part of the strategic planning process on incidents.
LaWen is a Co-Lead for S-490 (Advanced Fire Behavior Calculations) at the Northern Rockies Training Center and a Steering Committee Member/Unit Lead for RX-510 (Advanced Fire Effects) and S-495 (Geospatial Fire Analysis, Interpretation, and Assessment) at the National Advanced Fire and Resource Institute in Tucson. She also helps with RX-301/341 (Prescribed Fire Implementation/Prescribed Fire Plan Preparation) and S-482 (Strategic Operational Planning).
Past research has included inventory and monitoring to track long-term vegetation trends, effects of prescribed fire and wildfires on vegetation and fuels, and preparing fire analyses and reports consistent with mandates of federal laws such as NFMA and NEPA. She has worked for various national forests collecting long-term vegetation data in riparian and upland systems, as a firefighter, and as a fire ecologist.
The field often struggles in applying results from research to the real world and FMI seeks to bridge that gap. FMI also serves on numerous course cadres to failitate applying science in NWCG courses.