Wildfire Resilience

Smoke rising from burning forest, firefighters and truck in front.


Large and destructive wildfires are increasingly prevalent in the American West, and impacts on the communities they affect can be varied and substantial. Recent federal policies have placed an emphasis on community wildfire planning and preparedness to increase local resilience to wildfire threats and impacts. This project explored how federal policies interact with social conditions at the community level to reduce wildfire impacts. The goals of this project were to: (1) explain interactions among socioeconomic vulnerability, community adaptive capacity, and wildfire planning and mitigation; and (2) identify how these dimensions influence resilience in rural, fire-prone communities.


Through four case studies, a content analysis of community wildfire protection plans, and surveys of county planners and key informants in communities recently affected by large wildfires, we investigated how pre-fire conditions affect community resilience following large wildfires.


Journal articles

NEW! Open access (free to download) article: Abrams, J. B., M. Knapp, T. B. Paveglio, A. Ellison, C. Moseley, M. Nielsen-Pincus, and M. C. Carroll. 2015. Re-envisioning community-wildfire relations in the U.S. West as adaptive governance. Ecology and Society 20(3):34. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-07848-200334

Working Papers

NEW!: Working Paper #56: Community Experiences with Wildfire: Actions, Effectiveness, Impacts, and Trends

Working Paper #50: Community Diversity and Wildfire Risk: An Archetypes Approach to Understanding Local Capacity to Plan for, Respond to, and Recover from Wildfires

Briefing Papers

Briefing Paper #59: Community Wildfire Protection Plans in the American West

Briefing Paper #60: Promoting Fire-Adapted Communities: The Importance of Social Diversity in the Wildland Urban Interface

Fact Sheets

These fact sheets explore lessons learned from individual case studies on community preparation for, response to, and recovery from specific wildfire threats.

Homeowners Associations as Promising Structures for Wildfire Risk Reduction: The Hawkins and Caughlin Fires in Caughlin Ranch, Nevada

Prior Collaboration Improves Wildfire Response and Recovery: The 2011 Track Fire in Raton, New Mexico

Wildfire Spurs Disaster Response Reorganization: The 2012 Charlotte Fire Near Pocatello, Idaho

Project partners

Washington State University

Portland State University

University of Idaho

Funding for this project was provided by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.