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Trial by fire: Community Wildfire Protection Plans put to the test

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Research has found that community wildfire protection planning can make significant contributions to wildfire mitigation and preparedness, but can the planning process and resulting Community Wildfire Protection Plans make a difference to wildfire response and recovery? In case studies conducted in four USA communities with Community Wildfire Protection Plans in place when wildfires occurred, we saw a range of Community Wildfire Protection Plan projects designed to change the path and intensity of the wildfires. In most of our communities, the Community Wildfire Protection Plan and planning process improved relationships among firefighting agencies, clarified responsibilities and improved communication systems, contributing to fire response efficiency and effectiveness. We found that social learning resulting from the wildfire experience motivated communities to revisit and implement their Community Wildfire Protection Plans, changing the planning frame and scale and increasing the plan’s relevance for response and recovery. We conclude that Community Wildfire Protection Plans and experience with wildfire can also result in greater community capacity that builds resilience and increases adaptive capacity for future environmental changes and disasters.
P.J. Jakes; V. Sturtevant
Jakes PJ, Sturtevant V. Trial by fire: Community Wildfire Protection Plans put to the test. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 2013 ;On-line early.