The use of alternatives to evacuation during wildfire events continues to be an intensely debated strategy in the professional and policy circles of numerous fire-prone countries. The most recent chapter comes in response to the Black Saturday Fires in Australia, which has led to policy changes concerning alternatives to evacuation in both Australia and USA. This study explores the local context that influenced the development of alternatives to evacuation in one Idaho community through in-depth interviews with local residents and officials. It acknowledges alternatives as one ‘fire-adaptive behaviour’ of the local community, a key characteristic that US fire professionals identify as a means to better manage wildfire. We apply and extend a recently created adaptive capacity framework for wildfire to uncover specific community characteristics that both led to and reinforce the development of alternatives to evacuation that are tailored to the local population. Identification of these characteristics serves as one important step towards better local assessment of adaptive capacity for a broad classification of ‘fire-adaptive’ behaviours. We conclude that no one combination of local resources can guarantee the development of alternatives to evacuation. Rather, diverse local context will result in different approaches and applicability of the practice.