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LaWen T. Hollingsworth

Stagg Tree, Giant Sequoia National Monument. Second largest giant sequoia.

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. 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

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.

Why This Research is Important

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.


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

    S-482 Strategic Operational Planning, Great Basin & Northern Rockies Training Centers
    2020 to present

    RX-301/341 Prescribed Fire Implementation/Prescribed Fire Plan Preparation, Great Basin Training Center
    2019 to present

    RX-510 Advanced Fire Effects, National Advanced Fire and Resource Institute
    2016 to present

    Steering Committee Member
    S-490 Advanced Wildland Fire Behavior Calculations, Northern Rockies Training Center
    2015 to present

    Co-Lead Instructor
    S-495 Geospatial Fire Behavior Analysis, Interpretation, and Application, National Advanced Fire and Resource Institute
    2012 to present

    Unit Lead

    Featured Publications


    Hollingsworth, LaWen T.; Panunto, Matthew, 2020. Assessing wildfire risk in real time on the 2017 Frye Fire
    Hollingsworth, LaWen T.; Parsons, Russell A., 2013. Wildfire risk to structures: Island Park Sustainable Fire Community
    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.