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LaWen T. Hollingsworth

Fire Behavior Specialist

5775 Highway 10 West
Missoula, MT 59808
Contact LaWen T. Hollingsworth

Current Research

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.

Research Interests

Professional interests include fire behavior analyses, evaluating fire behavior and fire effects especially during large fire-growth days, and post-fire vegetation response.

Past Research

The field often struggles in applying results from research to the real world and FMI seeks to bridge that gap.

Why This Research is Important

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.


  • University of Idaho, B.S., Forest Resources, 1997
  • University of Montana, M.S., Forestry/Fire Ecology, 2005
  • Professional Experience

    Lead Instructor - Fire Behavior Workshop, Northern Rockies Training Center
    2015 to present

    The Fire Behavior Workshop has its roots following the fire season of 1988 when Dick Rothermel convened some of the best and brightest fire behavior analysts to share and learn from this important fire season.
    Co-Lead Instructor, Northern Rockies Training Center
    2015 to present

    S-490 Advanced Wildland Fire Behavior Calculations
    Faculty, National Advanced Fire and Resource Institute
    2012 to present

    S-495 Geospatial Fire Behavior Analysis, Interpretation, and Application


    Helmbrecht, Don; Gilbertson-Day, Julie; Scott, Joe H.; Hollingsworth, LaWen T., 2016. Wildfire risk to residential structures in the Island Park Sustainable Fire Community: Caribou-Targhee National Forest
    Hollingsworth, LaWen T.; Johnson, D.; Sikaundi, G.; Siame, S., 2015. Fire management assessment of Eastern Province, Zambia
    Dobrinkova, Nina; Hollingsworth, LaWen T.; Heinsch, Faith Ann; Dillon, Gregory K.; Dobrinkov, Georgi, 2014. Bulgarian fuel models developed for implementation in FARSITE simulations for test cases in Zlatograd area
    Hollingsworth, LaWen T.; Parsons, Russell A., 2013. Wildfire risk to structures: Island Park Sustainable Fire Community
    Hollingsworth, LaWen T.; Kurth, Laurie L.; Parresol, Bernard R.; Ottmar, Roger D.; Prichard, Susan J., 2012. A comparison of geospatially modeled fire behavior and fire management utility of three data sources in the southeastern United States
    Fay, Bret; Hollingsworth, LaWen T., 2012. Bald Mountain Fire long term fire assessment - V1.0 9/24/2012
    Ritter, Sharon; Canton-Thompson, Janie; Jones, Greg; McCaughey, Ward; Calkin, Dave E.; Harrington, Mick; Kolb, Peter; Hollingsworth, LaWen T.; Jensen, Joe; Knotek, Katie; Thompson, Brooke, 2005. ECO-Report - Scale matters - some thoughts on landscape sustainability
    In 2015, analysts with Fire Modeling Institute (FMI) continued to be involved with application of a wildfire risk assessment framework developed largely by RMRS scientists from both the Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program and the Human Dimensions Program. The risk assessment framework is useful for multiple reasons: it provides a means to assess the potential risk posed by wildfire to specific highly valued resources and assets (HVRAs) across large landscapes, and it also provides a scientifically-based foundation for fire managers to think strategically and proactively about how to best manage fire and fuels on their landscapes in a way that integrates with broader land and resource management goals.  
    Many scientists from the Rocky Mountain Research Station Fire, Fuel, and Smoke (FFS) program are intimately involved with various aspects of fire management, including both prescribed fires and wildfires. These activities provide operational experience and the opportunity to observe fire in many different vegetation types. FFS employees have worked on lands managed by the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Forest Service (USFS), Colville Agency, Yakama Agency, State of Idaho, State of Alaska, and the Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association. Explore the work that each of our FFS employees participated in.
    In April, 2015 the Helena National Forest (HNF) requested that the Fire Modeling Institute conduct a wildfire probability modeling and risk assessment study to analyze proposed fuel treatments in the project area. The HNF requested this study include modeling the probability of burning, potential fire behavior, and identification of areas where large fires and/or fires potentially destructive to structures were most likely to originate.

    RMRS Science Program Areas: 
    Fire, Fuel and Smoke