Roles and experiences of non-governmental organizations in wildfire response and recovery

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Across fires and NGOs, NGO management and wellbeing, coordination and disaster experiences emerge as common barriers and enablers of relief and recovery. In many cases, local NGOs’ participation in wildfire relief and recovery included simultaneous expansion of an organisation’s mission and activities and negative impacts on staff mental health. Under the rapidly evolving circumstances of relief and the prolonged burdens of recovery, personal relationships across NGOs and government agencies significantly improved coordination of assistance to communities. Finally, interviewees expressed greater confidence when responding to wildfires if they had previous experience with a disaster, although the COVID-19 pandemic presented distinct challenges on top of pre-existing long-term recovery work.

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