Wildfire risk science facilitates adaptation of fire-prone social-ecological systems

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This study presents a novel risk-science approach that aligns wildfire response decisions, mitigation opportunities, and land management objectives by consciously integrating social, ecological and fire management system needs. We use fire-prone landscapes of the US Pacific Northwest as our study area, and report on and describe how three complementary risk-based analytic tools—quantitative wildfire risk assessment, mapping of suppression difficulty, and atlases of potential control locations—can form the foundation for adaptive governance in fire management. Together, these tools integrate wildfire risk with fire management difficulties and opportunities, providing a more complete picture of the wildfire risk management challenge. Leveraging recent and ongoing experience integrating local experiential knowledge with these tools, we provide examples and discuss how these geospatial datasets create a risk-based planning structure that spans multiple spatial scales and uses.

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