Governing wildfires: toward a systematic analytical framework

TitleGoverning wildfires: toward a systematic analytical framework
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsKirschner, JA, Clark, J, Boustras, G
JournalEcology & Society
Keywordsactor collaboration, actor participation, adaptation, climate change, decision-making, technical reports and journal articles, wildfire governance, wildfire risk

Despite recent research, a systematic approach to understanding wildfire governance is lacking. This article addresses this deficit by systematically reviewing governance theories and concepts applied so far in the academic literature on wildfires as a step toward achieving their more effective and holistic management. We engage our findings with the wider governance literature to unlock new thinking on wildfires as a process and outcome. This comparative approach enables us to propose a novel framework for analyzing wildfire governance based on four pillars: (1) actor participation in decision-making and decision taking; (2) actor collaboration and coproduction across and within levels, scales, and networks; (3) path dependencies and local place-based dynamics of wildfire incidence and comprehension; and (4) actor adaptation to and anticipation of wildfire risk to fashion effective institutions that address the global wildfire challenge. We show how this framework can help specify a suite of bespoke analytical and policy practitioner approaches to facilitate preemptive and restorative wildfire strategies via new networks between communities, states, and wider society, thus providing the basis for more equitable and sustainable governance of wildfire risks and impacts.