Inga La Puma

LANDFIRE Program Lead
(406) 499-5094

Research Topics

  • Mapping and modeling disturbance and succession dynamics
  • Remote sensing of vegetation and fuel properties
  • Dynamic vegetation and fuel mapping

Personal Summary

Inga La Puma is the Program Lead for LANDFIRE, a joint program between the US Forest Service and the Department of Interior. LANDFIRE is a nationwide program that maps annual disturbance, vegetation type, cover and height, surface and canopy fuels, and seamless topographic data on all US lands.

Inga began her career as a geographer and expanded into landscape ecology and spatial wildland fire applications. Inga spent most of her early post-graduate years as a field technician enumerating and mapping vegetation characteristics throughout the country. She spent time on Alaska’s North Slope studying warming effects on tundra carbon flux and vegetation reflectance. In New Jersey, Inga compiled 90 years of spatial fire history to help model the interacting disturbances of fire, climate warming and landuse change on forest disturbance and succession. Inga also spent five years as a fire science communication specialist with JFSP’s North Atlantic Fire Science Exchange where she authored over 25 research briefs and as a consultant creating the NJ Forest Fire Service’s draft strategic plan. Inga worked for over three years as LANDFIRE’s technical lead with contractors to the USGS before coming to the Fire Modeling Institute. Inga has been assisting with prescribed fires on her local crew for the State of NJ’s Forest Fire Service since 2017.

Outside of work, Inga is a lifelong ballet dancer and teaches ballet. Inga enjoys camping with her family and exploring the natural areas in and around beautiful Cape May, NJ.

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