Wildland Urban Interface
Legislators exhort government agencies to work with the public to reduce fire hazards in the wildland-urban interface. However, working with an unorganized 'public' is a challenge for agencies. We present survey research on fire safe councils in California, community-based groups that work to reduce wildfire hazards with a range of innovative mitigation activities. We find that many fire safe councils exhibit high capacity for bonding and bridging forms of social capital that enable them to work within their communities and with government agencies to improve fire management. Two sources of strength in this potentially expandable organizational model are (1) the grass-roots character of most councils, which emerge from and reflect their communities' specific needs and capacities, and (2) a statewide coalition of federal and state fire and land management agencies with other stakeholders, which legitimizes agency staff involvement at a local level and streamlines access to funding.