Policy tools to encourage community-level defensible space in the United States: A tale of six communities
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Journal of Rural Studies. 35: 59-69.
Within the wildland-urban interface (WUI), wildfire risk contains both individual and collective components. The likelihood that a particular home will be threatened by wildfire in any given year is low, but at a broader scale the likelihood that a home somewhere in the WUI will be threatened is substantially higher. From a risk mitigation perspective, individuals may take a number of actions to reduce risk exposure, but their risk is lowered even further when neighboring properties also take mitigation measures. Collectively, risk mitigation on individual properties lowers both individual and community-level risk. Multiple factors contribute to whether or not an individual will take action to reduce their risk; when an individual opts to not implement risk mitigation measures that would be beneficial from a community standpoint, community leaders can use a variety of policy tools to encourage the individual to adopt an action or change their behavior. As proposed by Schneider and Ingram in 1990, these include passing rules or regulations, building capacity, providing incentives, and establishing community norms. As part of a larger longitudinal study on WUI communities in the western United States, we reviewed approaches used by six communities in Idaho, Oregon and Utah to mitigate interdependent wildfire risk at two points in time. Each community's approach was different, being well suited to meet the community's specific needs.
KeywordsWildfire; Community risk; Mitigation; Diffusion of Innovations
Stidham, Melanie; McCaffrey, Sarah; Toman, Eric; Shindler, Bruce. 2014. Policy tools to encourage community-level defensible space in the United States: A tale of six communities. Journal of Rural Studies. 35: 59-69. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2014.04.006.