International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Building bridges to fight fire: the role of informal social interactions in six Colorado wildland–urban interface communities

Hannah Brenkert-Smith
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A National Center for Atmospheric Research, PO Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000, USA.

B Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, 483 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0483, USA. Email: hannahb@ucar.edu

International Journal of Wildland Fire 19(6) 689-697 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF09063
Submitted: 12 June 2009  Accepted: 13 January 2010   Published: 17 September 2010

Abstract

Property owners in fire-prone communities have been identified as key stakeholders in the wildfire dilemma. Although past research has examined stakeholder characteristics and their behaviours, less is known about how small-scale social processes among stakeholders might shape mitigation decision-making and related actions. This manuscript highlights the role informal social interactions play in building bridges among full-time and part-time residents that facilitate the spread of wildfire information and galvanise small-scale cooperative efforts to reduce wildfire risk. Data from in-depth interviews conducted with residents in six fire-prone Colorado communities indicate that these interactions create bridging capital that links those who are not likely to be the direct recipients of wildfire outreach efforts to those who are.


Acknowledgements

This project was supported by the US Environmental Protection Agency STAR (Science To Achieve Results) Fellowship Program, US Forest Service (FS-NC-4902, Study no. 05–01) and the Institute of Behavioural Science at the University of Colorado. The National Center for Atmospheric Research is supported by the National Science Foundation.


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A As household mitigation decisions are not typically made by one sole decision-maker, interviews were conducted with more than one member of the household whenever possible. In 11 of the 62 households represented in this study, two household decision-makers were interviewed.

B Several residents held more than one parcel.


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