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Using community archetypes to better understand differential community adaptation to wildfire risk

Author(s): Matthew S. Carroll, Travis B. Paveglio
Year Published: 2016

One of the immediate challenges of wildfire management concerns threats to human safety and property in residential areas adjacent to non-cultivated vegetation. One approach for relieving this problem is to increase human community ‘adaptiveness’ to deal with the risk and reality of fire in a variety of landscapes. The challenge in creating ‘fire-adapted communities’ (FACs) is the great diversity in character and make-up of populations at risk from wildfire. This paper outlines a recently developed categorization scheme for Wildland–Urban Interface (WUI) communities based on a larger conceptual approach for understanding how social diversity is likely to influence the creation of FACs. The WUI categorization scheme situates four community archetypes on a continuum that recognizes dynamic change in human community functioning. We use results from the WUI classification scheme to outline key characteristics associated with each archetype and results from recent case studies to demonstrate the diversity across WUI communities. Differences among key characteristics of local social context will likely result in the need for different adaptation strategies to wildfire. While the WUI archetypes described here may not be broadly applicable to other parts of the world, we argue that the conceptual approach and strategies for systematically documenting local influences on wildfire adaptation have potential for broad application.

Citation: Carroll, M.; Paveglio, T. 2016. Using community archetypes to better understand differential community adaptation to wildfire risk. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0344
Topic(s): Wildland Urban Interface
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 14469
Record updated: Jun 23, 2016