As large wildfires have become common across the American West, federal policies such as the Healthy Forests Restoration Act have empowered local communities to plan for their own wildfire protection. Here, we present an analysis of 113 community wildfire protection plans from 10 western states where large fires have recently occurred. These plans contain wide diversity in terms of specific plan elements and dimensions, yet less diversity in the paradigms underlying their fire protection approaches. These patterns held true across both plans constructed solely by local actors as well as those constructed with the help of outside consultant expertise.
The physical and chemical environment of the Earth has changed rapidly over the last 100 years and is predicted to continue to change into the foreseeable future. One of the main concerns with potential alterations in climate is the propensity for increases in the magnitude and frequency of extremes to occur. Even though precipitation is predicted to increase in some locations, in others precipitation is expected to decrease and evapotranspiration increase with air temperature, resulting in exacerbated drought in the future. Chemical [ozone (O3) and other air contaminants] and subsequent physical alterations in the environment will have a profound effect on the ‘disease triangle’ (a favourable environment, a susceptible host and a virulent pathogen) and should be included in any analysis of biological response to climate change. The chemical and physical environment affects plant health and alters plant susceptibility to insect and pathogen attack through increased frequency, duration and severity of drought and reduction in host vigour. The potential effects of climate change and O3 on tree diseases with emphasis on the western United States are discussed. We describe a generalised modelling approach to incorporate the complexities of the ‘disease triangle’ into dynamic vegetation models.