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Project ID: 14-2-01-29

Year: 2014

Date Started: 08/01/2014

Ending Date:  07/31/2017

Title: Fire-Adapted Communities on the Range: Alternative Models of Wildfire Response

Project Proposal Abstract: Rangeland fire protection associations (RFPAs) provide a first line of defense and ongoing suppression capabilities across many millions of acres of mixed-ownership lands in eastern Oregon and southern Idaho. In addition to filling gaps in state fire response capacity, these organized groups of landowners provide proactive fire mitigation and increase adaptive capacity in rural communities within sparsely populated rangeland landscapes. Currently, there are 18 RFPAs in Oregon and four in Idaho. Use of the RFPA model is rapidly increasing in rural communities, yet there is currently no research on how RFPAs function or interact with agencies, or the challenges and opportunities that they present for safe and effective wildfire response. We propose to research RFPAs as unique models of community-based fire response embedded within larger interagency networks. We hypothesize that these organizations are able to build capacity, facilitate interactions with land and fire management agencies, and promote broader fire-adaptive behaviors beyond suppression. In particular, we hypothesize that any successes of this model may be due to the fact that it combines local knowledge, skills, and prioritization with higher-level oversight and resources from multiple scales under an effective organizational structure. Our research objectives are to: 1) analyze the effectiveness of the RFPA model, 2) provide spatial visualization and analysis of rural wildfire response capacity, and 3) develop conceptual models and new hypotheses about the role of local organizations in promoting fire-adapted communities. We will undertake a mixed-methods investigative approach that combines document analysis, key informant interviews, structured qualitative induction, analysis of organizational structure, and participatory spatial visualization and analysis. Specifically, we will conduct in-depth case studies of four RFPAs across our study region, analyzing their development, structure, interactions with state and federal land and fire management agencies, experiences with specific fire events, and engagement in fire-adaptive activities and behaviors such as wildfire risk reduction and post-fire recovery. These case studies will inform a larger analysis of the RFPA model across Oregon and Idaho, with emphasis on organizational attributes and linkages to fire-adaptive behaviors. We will also conduct spatial visualization and analysis exercises in which RFPA members and agency fire managers will identify values, risks, and capacities across their respective jurisdictions. The resulting digitized maps will be analyzed and used to highlight convergent and divergent understandings and approaches between RFPAs and agencies. We will combine findings from Objectives 1 and 2 to analyze evidence of known and new factors of adaptive capacity and generate conceptual models of the relationship between local suppression organizations and fire-adaptive behaviors in rural communities, leading to new hypotheses. Our research findings will be disseminated via a combination of peer-reviewed publications, presentations at relevant conferences, presentations and facilitated dialogues at practitioner meetings and workshops, open-access working and briefing papers for diverse audiences, and webinars hosted by the Great Basin Fire Science Delivery and Northwest Fire Science Consortium.

Principal Investigator: Emily Jane Davis

Agency/Organization: University of Oregon

Branch or Dept: Institute for a Sustainable Environment


Other Project Collaborators

Type

Name

Agency/Organization

Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Joshua T. Kerber

University of Oregon

Office of Research Services & Administration

Budget Contact

Joshua T. Kerber

University of Oregon

Office of Research Services & Administration

Co-Principal Investigator

Jesse B. Abrams

University of Oregon

Institute for a Sustainable Environment

Co-Principal Investigator

Lee Cerveny

Forest Service

PNW-Seattle-Managing Natural Disturbances

Co-Principal Investigator

James E. Meacham

University of Oregon

Department of Geography


Project Locations

Consortium

Great Basin

Northwest


Level

State

Agency

Unit

REGIONAL

Interior West

BLM

STATE

ID

BLM

ALL

STATE

OR

BLM

ALL


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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