An Innovative Approach to Understanding Communities

An Innovative Approach to Understanding Communities


Destructive wildfires have increased
dramatically in recent years. The fire is a natural part of the landscape so what
can we do to help communities adapt? Living with wildfire is about making
changes before a wildfire happens, it’s about creating safe and resilient
communities where fire plays its natural role without destroying lives and
property and it’s about supporting effective wildfire response. How can we
get there? As a nation we spend a lot of time and money suppressing from
wildfires to protect homes and communities, the practice of putting out
nearly all wildfires keeps us on a long and challenging road. Large fires put
firefighters at risk, burn homes, degrade water quality and cost billions of
dollars. There are many efforts underway to build
a better path to help communities adapt to wildfire but threatening fires make
us scramble and spend a lot of money reacting then rebuilding after an event
instead of proactively addressing the problem. What can we do to break this
cycle? The WiRe team is helping communities build a path to fire
adaptation paved with strong researcher-practitioner partnerships
applied social science and wise investments. Our diverse team gathers
local information about communities, the residents who live there fire risk to
their properties and what they think about wildfire. WiRe uses this
information to create plans for fire adaptation based on the unique
characteristics and strengths of communities. The work is in depth in the
community is front and center the partners involved understand and are
invested in the community and the positive changes are effective and
long-lasting. We know this approach is effective and can be replicated in fire
prone communities around the nation because we’ve seen success firsthand. A
fire chief we worked with said “based on our partnership with the wiry team we’ve
learned a ton the perception of the public and access to information was
different from what we originally thought with the addition of a social
science component we recognized a need for change and how we communicate
educate and participate.” Together we’re connected to an enormous network and are sharing what we’re learning along way. We can’t do this alone, partnerships
and community interactions are key to the success of this approach. To find out
how WiRe can help your community please contact us at www.wildfireresearchcenter.org

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