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February 10, 2014 Previous day Next day

Dr. Christine Eriksen of the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research at the University of Wollongong, Australia, has posted links to free access to several of her recent research papers on wildfire and social science, including "Wildfire preparedness, community coheshion and social-ecological systems," co-authored with Tim Prior of the Center for Security Studies in Switzerland. Free downloads are available through March 26.

Advocates of Firewise and Fire Adapted Communities concepts and programs should take a look at this paper for its findings regarding the value of social cohesion within communities as it affects wildfire preparedness. The authors conclude that

" cohesion increases people's propensity to undertake protective actions in the context of wildfire in two ways: (1) it gives people the support and resources necessary to confront wildfire risk; and (2) it increases the salience of wildfire threat."

The paper provides some important clues for those working to initiate wildfire safety programs in communities, and emphasizes the importances of taking complex social interplay among community members and between local communities and their civil structures into account to improve success.  In places that have a "sense of community," where community members are able to come together to solve problems, there the authors find a key component of wildfire preparedness and resilience.

For more of Dr. Eriksen's work, including a book on gender and wildfire, and another paper with Tim Prior on mental preparedness for wildfire, check her LinkedIn profile or follow her posts on the Linked In Wildland Fire Management subgroup of NFPA.

A tip of our blogger hats goes to Bill Gabbert and Wildfire Today for alerting us to a newly announced set of projects sponsored by the USDA Forest Service and the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) that will help restore forest health, improve water quality, and mitigate against fire damage. 

In his recent blog post, Gabbert documents the February 7 announcement of the project, called the Chiefs' Joint Landscape Restoration Partnership, part of the Obama Administration’s Climate Action Plan to responsibly cut carbon pollution, slow the effects of climate change and put America on track to a cleaner environment. The partnership will invest $30 million in 13 projects across the country this year to help mitigate wildfire threats to communities and landowners, protect water quality, and supply and improve wildlife habitat for at-risk species.

See the NRCS website for more details on the project, which will certainly go far to boost the concept of fire adapted communities in forested areas around the nation.

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