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A burning problem: social dynamics of disaster risk reduction through wildfire mitigationAuthor(s): Susan Charnley; Melissa R. Poe; Alan A. Ager; Thomas A. Spies; Emily K. Platt; Keith A. Olsen
Source: Human Organization
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionDisasters result from hazards affecting vulnerable people. Most disasters research by anthropologists focuses on vulnerability; this article focuses on natural hazards. We use the case of wildfire mitigation on United States Forest Service lands in the northwestern United States to examine social, political, and economic variables at multiple scales that influence fire hazard and risk reduction treatments and their effectiveness. Variables highlighted include policy direction to prioritize wildfire risk reduction in the wildland-urban interface, laws and policies that make treating fuels in some national forest land management allocations challenging, social and political constraints on using prescribed fire, agency budget and target pressures, and integrating fire hazard reduction into forest management projects having multiple objectives. These variables compromise the effectiveness of wildfire mitigation treatments. Understanding the social dynamics of natural hazard mitigation is important because they affect its outcomes, creating differential exposure to natural hazards-one component of social vulnerability. Interdisciplinary research to identify how the social dynamics of natural hazard mitigation influence hazard reduction outcomes can contribute to more informed and effective approaches to disaster risk reduction.
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CitationCharnley, Susan; Poe, Melissa R.; Ager, Alan A.; Spies, Thomas A.; Platt, Emily K.; Olsen, Keith A. 2015. A burning problem: social dynamics of disaster risk reduction through wildfire mitigation. Human Organization. 74(4): 329-340.
Keywordsnatural hazard mitigation, Forest Service, United States
- Polishing the prism: improving wildfire mitigation planning by coupling landscape and social dimensions
- A Collaborative Approach to Community Wildfire Hazard Reduction
- Biotic and abiotic effects of human settlements in the wildland-urban interface
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