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Project ID: 16-2-01-33

Year: 2016

Date Started: 05/15/2016

Date Completed: 06/28/2017


Project Proposal Abstract: Prolonged droughts and increasing temperatures are driving longer fire seasons and increases in burnable area on a global scale. Climate change and increased development in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) are escalating both the size and likelihood of fire and the number of people and homes in fire-prone areas; some 32% of U.S. housing units and one-tenth of all land with housing is located in the WUI, and growth is expected to continue. As a result, communities in mountainous areas across the West must meet the risk of both fires and the hazards from post-fire erosion, namely post-fire floods and debris flows. It is often stated that meaningful fire management can only come as the result of collaboration amongst diverse stakeholders and that effective use of science is key to success. However, management strategies do not divulge how successful stakeholder collaboration might take place, or how science may be effectively used in fire management. In preparation for fire at the WUI, communities often undertake Wildfire Hazard Assessments (WHA), where hazards that may lead to or result from fire are identified. Like fire management at the WUI, the creation of a WHA in a populated area is often complex; multiple jurisdictions with diverse agendas must be considered in the decision-making process. Boise Idaho is currently being assessed as part of the 2016 Ada County Enhanced Wildfire Risk Assessment project, a comprehensive WHA informing Boise of ever-increasing fire risks. In FY 2016, the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security is required to provide a three year hazard plan update, and Ada County is required to provide a 5 year recurring Hazards Assessment. As a result, examining fire hazards in the upcoming year in Boise provides an optimal opportunity to examine WHA stakeholder interactions and the use of science in the decision making process. The objective of this study is to provide a best practices tool for decision makers conducting Wildfire Hazard Assessments at the Wildland Urban Interface that includes the incorporation of site-specific science in decision making. This study will investigate 1) the structure of stakeholder interaction during the creation of Boises Wildfire Hazard Assessment, and 2) how and if science (in the form of local maps and analysis of post-fire debris flow models) is being used and communicated by stakeholders within assessment structure. The proposed study will use informal meetings and formal interviews to frame stakeholder interactions and use of science through multiple streams analysis outlined by Kingdon (1984). This policy framework organizes complex stakeholder interactions and the problems, policies and solutions they bring to the stakeholder group as different streams that ultimately must unite at the window of opportunity; in this case, the window of opportunity is the Wildfire Hazard Assessment. This framework creates a method to determine the structure of stakeholder interaction during the creation of a WHA, and how science is used and communicated by stakeholders within this structure from which best practices for meaningful stakeholder interactions and use of science can be identified and incorporated into future WHAs throughout the nations Wildland Urban Interface. The application of the "multiple steams framework" to examining fire hazards will produce an effective tool that can be used in future fire hazards assessments involving multiple agencies or stakeholders. This tool, combined with the successful inclusion of state-of-the-art post-fire debris flow models, will improve the preparedness and ultimate safety of Boise WUI communities.

Principal Investigator: Jennifer L. Pierce

Agency/Organization: Boise State University

Branch or Dept: Department of Geosciences

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Karen R. Henry

Boise State University

Office of Sponsored Programs

Budget Contact

Karen R. Henry

Boise State University

Office of Sponsored Programs

Co-Principal Investigator

Eric W. Lindquist

Boise State University

Environmental Science & Public Policy Research Institute

Student Investigator

Katherine T. Gibble

Boise State University

Department of Geosciences

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Great Basin









Interior West


Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
view or print   7906 Final Report Summary Final Report Summary

Supporting Documents

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