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Social Factors in Wildland Fire

Author(s): David Martín Gallego, Eduard Plana Bach, Domingo Molina Terrén
Year Published: 2018

The socio-environmental dimension in wildland fire management is critical for moving towards a baseline of firewise planning. Wildland fire risk planning is a land use planning tool that should be able to keep pace with rapid rates of social and environmental change. Changes in land use and climate bring alterations in fire regimes, aggravating and diversifying the range of associated impacts and leaving a vulnerable society unprepared to take on a magnitude of risk. Extreme fire behavior is appearing even in areas not historically affected by severe wildfires. Success in adapting to increased risk can depend on social factors such as fire risk perceptions, social capacity to accept risk, and identification of social actors (decision makers, urban planners, firefighters, researchers, and the like) who can rise to the challenge of land management planning as a crucial aspect of wildland fire risk management. Moreover, societal and institutional involvement in management decisions is required for participatory risk governance. The vulnerability of urban settlements and infrastructure at risk can be attenuated by developing hazard mitigation strategies to create more resilient landscapes and communities. For example, a combination of agroforestry and livestock activities will yield a landscape mosaic. This, along with the social capacity to take protective measures in wildfire prevention as well as in emergency situations, will contribute to reducing overall community vulnerability (fig. 1). What are the key social factors at play in developing sound hazard mitigation strategies? This articles explains some of these strategies

Citation: Gallego DM, Bach EP, and Terrén DM. 2018. Social Factors in Wildland Fire Risk Management and Planning Fire Management Today 76(2): 18-22.
Topic(s): Fire Communication & Education, Risk, Wildland Urban Interface
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 18158
Record updated: Nov 5, 2018