Living with fire: Bridges between policy, science, and management

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In his October 26, 2017 commentary in these pages, Dr. Tom Zimmerman highlights a number of ongoing and future challenges faced by wildland fire management. To address these challenges he also identifies an important role for science and in particular management-relevant wildland fire research. Here, we first briefly elaborate on Dr. Zimmerman’s challenges and how they relate to new opportunities for the role of science. Second, we focus on three additional institutional or “cultural” barriers or divides that should be acknowledged and addressed when forging a path forward for wildland fire research and its necessary companion: science delivery. As commenters on these matters, we represent only a small portion—even within the federal wildland fire science community—of those responsible for or interested in the funding, execution, and delivery of actionable science to end users. Nevertheless, we represent key programs with specific missions to serve federal wildland fire-related management and policy information needs.

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