Wildland Urban Interface
The Firewise Communities Program and other wildfire mitigation programs promote private property actions that alleviate the growing complexity, costs, and damages from wildfire. Despite significant research surrounding performance of mitigations promoted by Firewise, fewer studies explore community adoption of the program or how residents evaluate its utility. This study used focus groups with local officials and residents in McCall, Idaho, to better understand their application for formal, city-wide recognition from the Firewise program. Results indicate the importance of early public involvement in adaptation of wildfire mitigation programs because many local residents indicated confusion over what Firewise recognition meant for them. Both professionals and residents thought Firewise could improve local capacity to address risk but also identified critical needs for adapting the program, including concerns about impacts to area aesthetics, differences between seasonal and full-time residents, and support for locally based organization rather than federal or state government organization that could infringe on personal freedoms.