Wildfire recovery: A “hot moment” for creating fire-adapted communities

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Drawing from literature on natural hazard vulnerability, disaster recovery, and wildfire ecology, this paper proposes a linked social-ecological model of community recovery and adaptation after disaster. The model contends that changes during post-wildfire recovery shape a community’s vulnerability to the next wildfire event. While other studies have highlighted linked social-ecological dynamics that influence pre-fire vulnerability, few studies have explored social-ecological feedbacks in post-fire recovery. This model contributes to interdisciplinary social science research on wildfires and to scholarship on community recovery by integrating hazard vulnerability reduction with recovery in a cyclical framework. Furthermore, it is adaptable to a variety of hazards beyond wildfire. The model provides a basis for future empirical work examining the nature and effectiveness of recovery efforts aimed at long-term vulnerability reduction.

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