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Partnership Overview

“There is no one size-fits-all solution to reducing wildfire risk. Solutions must be tailored to landscapes and communities.” National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy

picture of smoke and fire burning sagebrush land near Kennewick, WA

Initial CoMFRT project research questions

The CoMFRT research team works together with the community using an integrated “deep dive” approach at each study site. By studying households, communities, networks, local governance, and other facets of the landscape and community and how they operate together, CoMFRT creates a holistic understanding of each area that’s never been seen before.

  1. What strategies to address wildfire risk take into account community diversity and work effectively across different social contexts?

  2. What institutional relationships and mechanisms allow people to work together to share and co-manage risk?

  3. How can agencies and communities build capacity for cross-boundary and adaptive governance, and for collaboration?

  4. How is knowledge used to address and enable adaptation to cross-boundary wildfire risk?

CoMFRT partnership structure

The CoMFRT research team is organized into six subteams and includes individuals from several universities and the USDA Forest Service. Each CoMFRT subteam engages with individuals and organizations active in wildfire management and other Partnership subteams to investigate cross-boundary wildfire risk management.

A chart showing the CoMFRT Research Team structure: Risk Modeling, Literature synthesis, Wildfire Research, Community Archetypes, Landscape-based Social Networks, Governance Processes

Study sites

Fire-prone landscapes, or hotspots (circled below in blue), were first identified using a west-wide model designed to identify areas with an especially high risk of wildfire transmission from USFS-managed lands to private property. From these hotspots, North Central Washington was selected as the first study site followed by the Washach area of Utah.

A map showing fire-prone landscapes in U.S. Forest Service lands in the western United States

Management-relevant science

The aim of the CoMFRT Partnership is to co-produce it in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service, and our local and regional partners. Co-production is an iterative research process that brings together partners with different expertise, from within academia and beyond, to develop research tailored to a specific context and problem. By engaging in co-production, the CoMFRT project recognizes that academics need to work in collaboration with the various people and agencies working on wildfire to understand the complex management issues presented by growing wildfire risk. The CoMFRT research team has adopted the co-production approach and acknowledges that their work must be informed by the talented managers who regularly grapple with wildfire risk. 

The overarching direction of the CoMFRT project is co-produced through a series of conversations between the project research team and partners from the Fire and Aviation branch of the USDA Forest Service. The research team then works with local and regional partners to ensure that the research is meaningful to them, and will provide useful insights for partners working to manage wildfire risk both within project study sites and beyond.

“Our policy is to use every tool we have to improve landscape conditions, evaluating and managing the wildfire risk in conjunction with our state and other partners.”
~ Vicki Christiansen,
USDA Forest Service Chief

Why co-production?

  • Integrates multiple perspectives
  • Builds relationships and networks
  • Facilitates shared learning
  • Develops targeted research
  • Enables learning from local context
  • Draws on relevant theoretical insights
  • Creates active engagement between research and decision-making