Fire Communication & Education

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Envisioning Futures with Wildfire Webinar Series

Webinar join links and recordings.

11-week lecture series Lookout: Envisioning Futures with Wildfire, we’ll scan the horizon for the ideas and stories that can guide us through this critical and disorienting time. We’ve invited speakers who offer perspectives from across the arts, humanities, and environmental sciences to think about questions like: What can we learn about transformation from fire’s destructive and creative force? How should we live differently, both with each other and on the planet, in this era of wildfires? How can we honor fire as an ancient, rejuvenating element while also honoring all that has been lost to wildfire?

This series is hosted by the Spring Creek Project and the Environmental Arts and Humanities Initiative at Oregon State University and co-sponsored by OSU’s Center for the Humanities, OSU’s Sustainability Office, OSU’s Arts and Education Complex, and Terrain.org. Additional co-sponsors for individual talks are noted in the schedule below.

The talks in the series will be broadcast live on Zoom Tuesdays at 6 p.m. PST / 8 p.m. CST / 9 p.m. EST from January 4 to March 15. Free and open to everyone.

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Local social fragmentation and its potential effects on adapting to wildfire

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The case study research presented in this article evaluates social characteristics present in a WUI community that faces extreme wildfire risk to both people and property. It explores social processes that impede the ability of community members to work together collectively to solve problems (e.g., wildfire risk) and offers an alternative perspective about the nature of residency status (i.e., full-time and non-full-time) and its role in influencing wildfire mitigation efforts.

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Cultivating collaborative resilience to social and ecological change

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Here, we distill insights from an assessment of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) projects and other collaborative governance regimes (CGRs). We asked (1) how do CGRs adapt to disruptions? and (2) what barriers constrained CGR resilience? Our analysis is informed by a synthesis of the literature, case examples and exemplars from focus groups, and a national CFLRP survey.

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Residents’ perspectives on Colorado’s 2020 Cameron Peak Fire

Webinar recording.

The 2020 Cameron Peak Fire burned more than 200,000 acres of public and private land in northern Colorado making it the largest fire recorded in Colorado’s history. Extreme fire behavior driven by dense and dry fuels, steep terrain, and weather and climatic factors greatly affected the range of potential management strategies. Many different communities were affected by the fire from smoke, repeated and long-term evacuations, emotional distress, and property impacts. Social science researchers at Colorado State University, in conjunction with the USDA Rocky Mountain Research Station, interviewed more than 50 landowners and residents in communities directly impacted by the Cameron Peak Fire to understand and share their experiences and perspectives. Join this webinar to learn about people’s attitudes on the communication and fire management strategies, their perceptions of post-fire landscape recovery and forest health, and their support for future forest and fire management.

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Personalized risk information and social comparisons on information-seeking behavior in the WUI

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The effect of providing parcel-specific information depends on baseline conditions: Informing homeowners about their property’s wildfire risk increases information-seeking among homeowners of the highest-risk parcels by about 5 percentage points and reduces information-seeking among homeowners of lower-risk parcels by about 6 percentage points. Parcel-specific information also increases the overall response in the lowest risk communities by more than 10 percentage points.

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Boundary spanning features for collective action to reduce wildfire risk

Webinar recording.

Overview: This presentation will share key findings from a recent Joint Fire Science Project, specifically on: 1) the multiple types of boundaries in managing wildfire risk, and the boundary spanning features that can help cross them; 2) what strategies actors utilized for wildfire risk reduction across five case studies in the West; and 3) questions and ideas for future research and practice. This work is intended to help wildfire practitioners and managers better understand and address these organizational complexities as they work toward greater collective impact.

Presenters: Heidi Huber-Stearns, University of Oregon; Emily Jane Davis, Oregon State University; Tony Cheng, Colorado State University

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FS partnerships with nonprofits: Examples from the field

Webinar recording.

During this peer learning session attendees will learn about impactful partnerships at the local, regional, and national level, including:

  • The partnership between the Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation and the NFF’s role as a Congressional chartered nonprofit;
  • Partnerships between the Forest Service and nonprofits at the regional level and the role of the regional partnership coordinator in supporting these relationships;
  • Partnerships with local friends groups as given in an example by the Friends of the Bridger-Teton; and
  • Have an opportunity to ask questions of the speakers
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Identifying plausible community wildfire disasters in low-frequency fire regimes

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In this study, we used wildfire simulations and building location data to evaluate community wildfire exposure and identify plausible disasters that are not based on typical mean-based statistical approaches. We compared the location and magnitude of simulated disasters to historical disasters (1984–2020) in order to characterize plausible surprises which could inform future wildfire risk reduction planning. Results indicate that nearly half of communities are vulnerable to a future disaster, that the magnitude of plausible disasters exceeds any recent historical events, and that ignitions on private land are most likely to result in very high community exposure. Our methods, in combination with more typical actuarial characterizations, provide a way to support investment in and communication with communities exposed to low-probability, high-consequence wildfires.

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Supporting a shift in wildfire management from fighting fires to thriving with fires

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Despite the increasing challenges wildfires are posing around the globe, and the flourishing production of high quality wildfire scientific knowledge, the ability of fire science to impact knowledge on the ground, for people, society, economy, and the environment, in a way that facilitates change in the current wildfire management system has been limited. We believe that one reason for this limited impact is due to the fragmentation of this scientific knowledge. Therefore, we propose a Translational Wildfire Science (TWFS) as a new field of knowledge that captures the comprehensive dynamics of wildfire events, that provides information relevant, useful, and accessible to practitioners and citizens, and that facilitates the transfer of scientific knowledge into practice. The foundations of TWFS, including the main principles, the overarching characteristics, and the approach of a TWFS scientist, are presented. Finally, the next steps to be undertaken to consolidate TWFS as a new scientific field are identified.

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First Nations wildfire evacuations- A guide for communities and external agencies

Webinar recording.

Presenter: Henok W. Asfaw, Postdoc and Project Manager for the First Nations Wildfire Evacuation Partnership Project, University of Alberta

Description: This webinar presents results of research carried out as part of the First Nation Wildfire evacuation partnership in Canada and was recently published in a book titled “First Nations Wildfire Evacuations: A Guide for Communities and External Agencies”. The book brings together residents’ wildfire evacuation experiences drawn from seven case study First Nations communities in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. This book is a way for us to share the research results to First Nations, government agencies, non-government organizations, and host communities to reduce negative impacts of future wildfire evacuations. We also believe that the book would serve as a valuable guide for building community wildfire evacuation preparedness and response capacities not only for First Nations but also other Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Canada and beyond. Based on research featured in the recent book First Nations Wildfire Evacuations, A Guide for Communities and External Agencies, by Dr. Tara K. McGee and Dr. Amy Cardinal Christianson; with the First Nations Wildfire Evacuation Partnership.

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