Unprotected lands: A case study of a wildland-urban interface community in “No-Man’s land”

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This research is a case study of one community, located in Washington State, that is located on unprotected lands. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with 32 participants who live in the study area. Participants were asked questions to assess their level of knowledge about unprotected lands and to determine their preferences regarding the introduction of formalized fire protection. Over the course of the field work, data was also gathered pertaining to participants’ capacity to adapt to wildfire and the social characteristics that are present within the community that could impact their ability to ‘live with wildfire.’ We discovered that a large proportion of participants were unaware that they had no formalized fire protection and displayed significant lack of knowledge about unprotected lands. Those participants, however, shared social characteristics with the participants that were aware of their level of fire protection that promote a sense of collective self-sufficiency and a rejection of outside interference. Those participants who were aware of the unprotected lands situation did profess a need for some type of additional fire protection for their community, but in general, participants favored managing wildfire risk on their own.

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