Skip to main content
Northwest Fire Science Consortium
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Hot Topic(s):
Fire Policy & Law
Fuel Treatments & Effects
Prescribed Fire-use treatments
Smoke & Air Quality

NRFSN number: 22524
FRAMES RCS number: 62630
Record updated:

Prescribed fire is an important tool for maintaining the resilience of fire-dependent ecosystems. Despite broad recognition of its value, however, prescribed fire application in the western US has not been applied at the necessary levels. Past research has identified a range of factors, such as weather, planning delays, and lack of funding or personnel, that can constrain use of prescribed fire in different locations. Past research had also suggested that policy-related concerns can inhibit prescribed fire application, although it has been unclear if challenges rested in national policies, state regulations, or other aspects of policy implementation. This distinction is important because different policy barriers require different solutions. Barriers in law require amending legislation or regulation at the national or state level, whereas overcoming policy implementation challenges may depend on improving communication among key actors, providing adequate resources to implement existing policy, improving leadership direction, or restructuring incentives. For this study, researchers conducted 54 key informant interviews across the 11 western states to investigate policy-related barriers to prescribed fire on federal lands. In particular, they examined how laws, policies, and policy implementation affect prescribed fire application, and identified common challenges to and opportunities for increasing application.


Northwest Fire Science Consortium. 2020. Policy Barriers & Opportunities for Prescribed Fire Application in the Western US. Research Brief 22. Northwest Fire Science Consortium. 2 p.

Access this Document