Wildland Urban Interface
There is a growing recognition that the social diversity of communities at risk from wildland fire may necessitate divergent combinations of policies, programs and incentives that allow diverse populations to promote fire adapted communities (FACs). However, there have been few coordinated research efforts to explore the perceived utility and effectiveness of various options for FACs among residents, professionals, and local officials in disparate communities with different social contexts. The research presented here attempts to systematically explore the combination of local social factors that influence support for coordinated wildfire risk management across locations. We conducted 19 interactive focus groups across five communities spanning five Western U.S. states using a mixed-method design that allowed for the collection of quantitative and qualitative data. Results indicate a number of significant differences in effectiveness ratings for adaptation approaches across communities, including requirement of vegetation mitigations on private properties, fostering Firewise communities, and zoning efforts in fire-prone areas. We used qualitative data to help explain the differences between communities as a function of unique local social context operating in each location. We also compare our results with existing frameworks promoting community “archetypes” to evaluate their continued use in wildfire management planning or response.