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Project ID: 14-2-01-31

Year: 2014

Date Started: 09/01/2014

Ending Date:  09/30/2017

Title: Is the whole greater than the sum of its parts? Homeowner wildfire risk mitigation, community heterogeneity, and fire adaptedness.

Project Proposal Abstract: Adaptation to a fire-prone landscape requires more than understanding the nature of the risk. Adaptation requires action. Programs and policies with the end goal of improving community fire-adaptedness look to move WUI homeowners to understand and mitigate wildfire risk on their properties. Toward the broad goal of linking individual characteristics and community indicators of fire adaptedness across heterogeneous communities, the proposed research examines concepts and potential indicators of fire adaptedness to facilitate development of empirical models of fire adaptedness. Three data sources will enable the proposed research. First, qualitative data based on interviews with members of the Fire Adapted Communities (FAC) Coalition and others involved with FAC will be used to better understand FAC concepts and develop community level indicators of fire adaptedness. Based on these indicators, the research team will explore options for developing an overall index of community fire adaptedness. We envision an index similar to parcel level wildfire risk ratings in that it will reflect the relative, rather than absolute, fire adaptedness of a community. Such an index will enable consistent, demonstrable comparisons of fire adaptedness both within a community over time and across different communities, which is an important step toward refining the FAC concept beyond checklists of possible characteristics. The other two data sources come from building on the existing Living with Wildfire in Colorado project, an on-going interagency collaboration. The proposed research expands the current project in Western Colorado to focus on a total of approximately 70 diverse communities. In each community, wildfire risk assessments of all private parcels will be paired with data from a social survey that explores perceptions of wildfire risk (general and parcel specific), risk preferences, wildfire experience, and attitudes related to wildfire. To date, assessment and social data have been collected in 29 of the 70 communities. The high saliency of the social survey topic (wildfire) and the credibility of the survey sponsor (local wildfire council) have facilitated response rates from 50% to 62% to the wildfire survey to date. Combining all three data sources across the heterogeneous communities in Western Colorado will facilitate exploration of three research questions: What is fire adaptedness? How do individual and community characteristics relate to indicators of fire adaptedness? and What are the impacts of community programs intended to enhance fire adaptedness on individual mitigation efforts on private property? In the proposal, we articulate multiple tasks under each of the research questions.

Principal Investigator: Patricia A. Champ

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: RMRS-Rocky Mountain Research Station

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Cindy D. Gordon

Forest Service

RMRS-Rocky Mountain Research Station

Budget Contact

Cindy D. Gordon

Forest Service

RMRS-Rocky Mountain Research Station

Co-Principal Investigator

Christopher M. Barth

BLM-Bureau of Land Management

Southwest District Office

Co-Principal Investigator

Hannah B. Brenkert-Smith

University of Colorado-Boulder

Institute of Behavioral Science

Co-Principal Investigator

James R. Meldrum

University of Colorado-Boulder

Institute of Behavioral Science

Co-Principal Investigator

Travis W. Warziniack

Forest Service

RMRS-Rocky Mountain Research Station

Project Locations


Southern Rockies








Private lands

Project Deliverables

There is no final report available for this project.
There are no deliverables available for this project.

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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