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Social fragmentation and wildfire management: Exploring the scale of adaptive action

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The research presented in this article responds to the deficit described above by exploring the ways that interaction between residents, land managers, fire professionals, and government officials’ influences local approaches to wildfire management. We use the term social dynamics in reference to the patterns, influences and perspectives characterizing the interaction between human actors surrounding wildfire management, including their influence on the scale at which management can occur. We conducted focus groups with a variety of professionals, residents, and government officials in a landscape spanning Idaho and Washington states of the U.S. Pacific Northwest to gain on-the-ground understandings of the ways that local social dynamics influence management strategies for wildfire. This includes exploring the extent to which variation in residents’ values, skills, perspectives and relationships with the landscape leads to support or enactment of wildfire mitigation efforts. Results of our effort help illuminate tangible opportunities and barriers to collective wildfire management across landscapes and explore how social dynamics might influence progress toward creating fire resilient landscapes. In a broader sense, our efforts provide insight on the creation of “fire adapted communities” across diverse human populations and the ways site-specific social dynamics might influence their variable occurrence.

T.B. Paveglio

Paveglio TB. Social fragmentation and wildfire management: Exploring the scale of adaptive action Carroll MS. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. 2019 ;33(131).