Recent literature suggests that natural disasters such as wildfires often have the short-term effect of "bringing people together" while also under some circumstances generating social conflict at the local level. Conflict has been documented particularly when social relations are disembedded by nonlocal entities and there is a perceived loss of local agency. There is less agreement about longer term impacts. We present results of a re-study of a set of communities affected by the largest wildfire in Arizona history. The re-study uses structuration theory to suggest that while local recovery has been generally very successful, vestiges of both fire-related social cohesion and conflict have survived. While some sources of post-fire conflict and cohesion have remained relatively unchanged, others have evolved. We suggest that more needs to be known about the longer term effects of large wildfire events and the role that advanced preparation for such events plays in local recovery.
Caroll, Matthew S.; Paveglio, Travis; Jakes, Pamela J.; Higgins, Lorie L. 2011. Nontribal community recovery from wildfire five years later: The case of the Rodeo-Chediski fire. Society & Natural Resources. 24(7): 672-687.