Human Dimensions of Fire

Journal article icon

Organizational influence on the co-production of fire science: Overcoming challenges and realizing opportunities

View article.

Research organizations like Rocky Mountain Research Station may be able to institutionalize co-production by adjusting the way they incentivize and evaluate researchers, increasing investment in science delivery and scientific personnel overall, and supplying long-term funding to support time-intensive collaborations. These sorts of structural changes could help transform the culture of fire science so that coproduction is valued alongside more conventional scientific activities and products.

Journal article icon

Co-management during crisis: Insights from jurisdictionally complex wildfires

View article.

In this paper, researchers seek to address this question based on interviews with leaders engaged in the management of jurisdictionally complex wildfire incidents. They propose a multi-level framework for conceiving co-management as strategic efforts of individual actors to cooperatively manage perceived interdependencies with others through one or more formal or informal institutional arrangements. They then demonstrate the value of the proposed framework in its ability to organize a series of questions for diagnosing co-management situations within the context of jurisdictionally complex wildfires.

Journal article icon

Co-management during crisis: Insights from jurisdictionally complex wildfires

View article.

In this paper, we seek to address this question based on interviews with leaders engaged in the management of jurisdictionally complex wildfire incidents. We propose a multi-level framework for conceiving co-management as strategic efforts of individual actors to cooperatively manage perceived interdependencies with others through one or more formal or informal institutional arrangements. We then demonstrate the value of the proposed framework in its ability to organize a series of questions for diagnosing co-management situations within the context of jurisdictionally complex wildfires.

Webinar, video, audio icon

Outdoor recreation and anthropogenic wildfire as exemplified through the San Juan NF

Webinar recording.

Federally owned public lands, originally designated to properly manage natural resources, are prone to wildfire in the southern Rocky Mountains, a risk which has increased as a result of environmental conditions and historical land management. Outdoor recreation has become increasingly prevalent since the twentieth century, providing greater access to fire-prone lands. Using San Juan National Forest as the study site, this presentation explores research analyzing the influence outdoor recreation and human access have on anthropogenic wildfire occurrence and size in the southern Rocky Mountains. GIS methodologies and statistical analysis demonstrate the impact designated outdoor recreation locations have on anthropogenic wildfires, giving insight into specific usage patterns that result in human-caused wildfire ignitions.

Webinar, video, audio icon

Fire and humans in resilient ecosystems of the American SW

Webinar recording.

Description: In the southwestern US humans and ecosystems share a history of fire. Here, contemporary ecological patterns and processes that are thought to be natural may be highly influenced by past human land use legacies, at millennial time scales. The Jemez Mountains of central New Mexico provide a landscape laboratory rich in archaeological, ethnographic, and ecological data sets, within which to study the reciprocal, long-term interactions of humans and fire. Evidence from tree-rings, fire scars, and charcoal sediments suggests that prior to the 20th century, southwestern pine forests sustained frequent, low-severity surface fires. During a period of dense occupation in the 13th and 14th centuries, land and resource use may have significantly influenced forest structure, fuel properties, ignitions, and landscape fire dynamics. We developed complex spatial models, informed by rich archaeological, ethnographic, and dendroarchaeological data sets, to examine how plausible scenarios of human activities influenced forests and fire regimes ca. 1200-1900 CE. We found that prehistoric populations influenced forest and fire patterns at broad spatial scales, with feedbacks that maintained ecological resilience. Our results highlight the complexity and extent of long-term human-environment interactions and can be used as a comparative framework within which to evaluate the significance of contemporary and predicted anthropogenic impacts on landscapes and ecosystems.

Presenter: Rachel Loehman is a landscape and fire ecologist with the US Geological Survey. Her research focuses on the role of natural and anthropogenic disturbances in shaping ecological patterns and processes. Her current research projects include developing strategies for enhancing ecosystem and forest resilience to changing climate and disturbance regimes (western U.S.) and monitoring and modeling fire impacts to archaeological resources (southwestern U.S.).

SW Fire Science Consortium Logo

Collective action for wildfire risk reduction across land ownerships in the West

Webinar registration.

Over the past decade, government policies and programs to incentivize “all-lands approaches” to reducing wildfire risk have emerged that call for collective action among diverse public, private, and Tribal landowners who share fire-prone landscapes. This presentation draws on research from Oregon and California to offer insights into what collective action looks like, when it is desirable, and how to promote it to increase the resilience of fire-prone forests.

Journal article icon

Human ignitions on private lands drive USFS cross-boundary wildfire transmission and community impacts in western US

View article.

Here, we use lands administered by the US Forest Service as a study system to assess the causes, ignition locations, structure loss, and social and biophysical factors associated with cross-boundary fire activity over the past three decades. Results show that cross-boundary fires were primarily caused by humans on private lands. Cross-boundary ignitions, area burned, and structure losses were concentrated in California. Public lands managed by the US Forest Service were not the primary source of fires that destroyed the most structures. Cross-boundary fire activity peaked in moderately populated landscapes with dense road and jurisdictional boundary networks. Fire transmission is increasing, and evidence suggests it will continue to do so in the future. Effective cross-boundary fire risk management will require cross-scale risk co-governance. Focusing on minimizing damages to high-value assets may be more effective than excluding fire from multijurisdictional landscapes.

Icon for Field Guide resources

Preparedness guide for wildland firefighters and their families

View guide.

A Preparedness Guide for Wildland Firefighters and Their Families provides honest information, resources, and conversation starters to give you, the wildland firefighter, tools that will be helpful in preparing yourself and your support network for the realities of your career. This publication does not set any standards or mandates; rather, it is intended to provide you with helpful information to bridge the gap between wellness and managing the unexpected. This publication helps firefighters and support networks such as family members, significant others, and friends prepare for and respond to planned and unplanned situations in the world of wildland firefighting. Some sections of this guide are written for the firefighter, while other sections are intended to be shared directly with support networks

Webinar, video, audio icon

Accounting for the benefits of public lands

Webinar recording.

Presented by: Travis Warziniack

Though National Forests are required to address ecosystem services and human benefits in planning and management decisions, most have limited capacity to meet those requirements. New tools are helping forests more easily identify impacts to ecosystem services and communicate their role in providing benefits to stakeholders. Moving toward nationally consistent methods will allow forests to more easily assess their ecosystem services, with the flexibility of adding local knowledge when needed.

Journal article icon

Effects of wildfire on collaborative management of rangelands: Soda fire case study

View article.

Using interview data, we examined cross-boundary collaboration after the Soda Fire that burned approximately 113,312 ha (280,000 acres) of southwestern Idaho and southeastern Oregon. We found relationships established in other management contexts were activated by individuals within agencies to share funding and resources to rehabilitate the landscape after the Soda Fire. The fire’s spatial proximity to Boise, Idaho, and temporal proximity to important federal policy decisions were primary collaboration drivers. Barriers to collaborative efforts still exist; however, interviewees highlighted the importance of individual agency (bottom-up) changes in lessening top-down constraints.

Narrow your search

Can't find what you need?

Stay Connected