Although there is broad and growing agreement about the need to reduce wildfire risk and restore fire-adapted landscapes, this agreement doesn’t automatically translate into action. Wildfire involves a diversity of land managers, owners, and stakeholders with their own roles and resources. Strategic coordination across this diversity of actors can be challenging. Social science research about collaboration recognizes the importance of building trust, but that can be hard to foster at large scales. To sustain necessary collective action, we find that a number of “boundary spanning features” may be key. These “BSFs” create ways for different actors to understand each other, share resources and responsibilities, and implement their visions.
Fire is organizationally complex. The purpose of our work is to help diverse groups of stakeholders better recognize this complexity as a challenge to effective wildfire risk management. Not every place or situation has to have the same approaches, functions, or actors. But, by showing the realm of possible functions and actors, readers may reflect on missing pieces in their own relationship with fire management. Ultimately, we want to share opportunities to combine the assets of various entities for greater collective impact.