Center for Applied Fire and Ecosystem Science Team


Scott Pokswinski
Director of Fire Science Applications
Scott Pokswinski is the Director of Fire Science Applications at the Center for Applied Fire and Ecosystem Science at NMC. He specializes in adapting cutting edge research to management applications. He managed SERDP research projects for eight years investigating fire ecology and habitat monitoring for The Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center and then the University of Nevada at Reno followed by five years managing research projects at Tall Timbers. His recent work has integrated remote sensing technologies with monitoring and modeling technologies to increase the quality and efficiency of data used by fire and land managers to make management decisions
Contact Dr. Pokswinski at
Grant Snitker
Dr. Grant Snitker
Director of Cultural Resource Sciences
Dr. Snitker is the Director of Cultural Resource Sciences within the Center for Applied Fire and Ecosystem Science at NMC. He is an environmental archaeologist, specializing in charcoal analysis, computational and analytical proxy modeling, and quantitative methods to understand the dynamic relationship between fire, humans, and long-term environmental change. He also works to improve methods and tools in cultural resource management and fire archaeology, including LiDAR data collection and analysis. He works primarily in the Western United States and the Western Mediterranean. When not doing archaeology, he is usually hiking, fly-fishing, ​spending time with friends and family, or ​some combination of ​all three.
Contact Dr. Snitker at
Nancy Karakker
Dr. Nancy Karraker
Director of Applied Conservation
Dr. Karraker is the Director of Applied Conservation at the Center for Applied Fire and Ecosystem Science at NMC. She is a conservation biologist whose research focuses on quantifying the effects of disturbance, including wildfire and forest management, on wildlife populations. Nancy is particularly interested in understanding how disturbance alters the occurrence and population trajectories of vulnerable species and how habitat management, including prescribed burning and restoration, can be applied to stabilize or reverse trends in declining populations. She has conducted research in North and Central America, South Africa, and East and Southeast Asia, but current projects are centered primarily in the U.S. Southwest. Nancy enjoys any outdoor activity, especially if reptiles and amphibians may be encountered.
Contact Nancy Karraker at


Dr. Claudine Gravel-Miguel
Dr. Gravel-Miguel is a Research Scientist for the Center for Applied Fire and Ecosystem Science at NMC. She is a quantitative archaeologist specializing in computational modeling, geospatial analyses and statistical analyses of archaeological data. Her previous work has focused primarily on European prehistoric archaeology, where she learned skills that can now be applied to North American archaeological data. At NMC, she helps create and improve methods to process LiDAR data. When she is not working, Claudine enjoys crafting, hiking with her family, friends and dog Leena, and doing escape rooms.
Marlee Lazarus
Marlee Lazarus
Marlee is an archaeological technician researching the potential effects of fire damage on archaeological sites and artifacts based on the results of various controlled combinations of native West-coast conifers and manzanita fuel loads. He is a member of the Albuquerque branch of the New Mexico Consortium and a recent alumnus from the University of New Mexico.
Anthony Marcozzi
Anthony is a fire scientist and software developer based in Missoula, MT. He works on the FastFuels data platform, developing tools to support next-generation fire modeling for prescribed fire planning and assessment. His passion for fire began while working as a wildland firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service. He continues to actively participate in prescribed fire operations in western Montana with the National Center for Landscape Fire Analysis, bridging the gap between research and practical application. When not immersed in the world of fire science, Anthony can be found running, skiing, and biking with his two huskies, and playing bluegrass banjo.
Alex Masarie
Dr. Alex Masarie
Dr. Masarie is the Model Integration Specialist at the Center for Applied Fire and Ecosystem Science at NMC. He is a mathematical physicist who specializes in Forest Sciences with focus on fire modeling and state-and-transition forest management. He has held post-doc fellow positions as a programmer at Rocky Mountain Research Station (fire suppression focused) and Tall Timbers (prescribed fire focus). A recent transplant to New Mexico, “Dr. Alex” spent the prior 2 years honing GIS 101 curriculum at Front Range Community College in Colorado, which he hopes to someday translate/interpret into a Spanish-language curriculum.
Katherine Peck
Katherine Peck
Katherine Peck, M.S. is a Junior Research Scientist in NMC’s Center for Applied Fire and Ecosystem Science and a PhD candidate at the University of New Mexico. She is an archaeologist who specializes in geospatial analysis and geoarchaeology and has worked primarily in Hawaii and the U.S. Southwest. She is also passionate about developing efficient digital methods for collecting, processing, and analyzing archaeological field data. Outside of work, Katherine enjoys birdwatching, hiking, and printmaking.
Matt Snider
Matt is a Research Scientist for the Center for Applied Fire and Ecosystem Science at NMC. He is a wildland fire operations professional with over thirty years experience working in leadership roles for federal and state agencies and non-governmental organizations. Matt’s experience includes serving as the State Fire Management Officer for the Utah Division of Forestry Fire and State Lands and as the State Fire Program Manager for the Georgia and Alabama chapters of The Nature Conservancy. Matt’s work currently involves applying next generation fire models to prescribed fire planning, decision making, and training. Matt lives in Southwest Georgia with his wife Mollie and their 105 pound English Foxhound, Bleu.
Natasha M. Torres Ríos
Natasha is a Research Scientist at the Center for Applied Fire and Ecosystem Science at NMC. She specializes in natural resources management using remote sensing and modeling technologies for long-term monitoring. Her previous experiences focused on long-term ecological monitoring across various novel forests and at El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico. At NMC she focuses on developing machine-learning methods to predict monitoring metrics from terrestrial LiDAR data. Her work also expands to an interdisciplinary approach using terrestrial LiDAR for wildlife monitoring. In her free time, she enjoys crocheting, baking, and playing video games.
Niko Tutland
Niko Tutland is a Research Scientist at the Center for Applied Fire and Ecosystem Science at NMC. He is a forest ecologist who specializes in vegetation community changes in response to disturbance and management. His previous work has ranged from studying broad-scale effects of bark beetle outbreaks, to developing quantitative tools for prescribed fire research. Niko’s work at NMC focuses on using fire behavior modeling to aid prescribed fire application and investigate the interactions between fire behavior and vegetation structure. When not researching trees, he is usually among them on a trail run or a bike ride.
Lucas Wells
Lucas is a forester and a software developer, holding a BS in Forestry from the University of Kentucky, an MS in Forestry from the University of Montana, and a PhD in Sustainable Forest Management from Oregon State University. His academic and professional journey has covered various research topics, including mathematical optimization, computer vision, silviculture, fire modeling, forest growth, forest inventory, and remote sensing. Beyond his extensive work, Lucas is deeply rooted in rural Western Montana, where he lives on a family forest with his spouse and two children, embodying the connection between his life’s work and personal commitment to community and the environment.