Human Factors & Risk Management
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Mindfulness & Self-compassion in Wildland Fire: Developing Leaders


This Human Factors & Risk Management and National Fire Plan funded dissertation research "investigates the roles of mindfulness and self-compassion in wildland fire as they pertain to the development of leadership with the aim of improving decision-making abilities."

An initial qualitative study in 2011 found the majority of desirable fire leadership qualities are based on the ability to reflect critically about oneself, others, and the surrounding environment. Further focus group interviews with fire managers assessed the opportunities and limitations of using mindfulness correlates in developing leadership and decision-making awareness in wildland fire. In 2012, this was turned into a work-aid and field-tested by fire crews to determine the potential to use simple reflective tools to develop reflective capacity among fire leaders.

A quantitative study initiated in 2012 seeks to clarify the relationship between the reflective concepts of mindfulness and leadership.

Briefings and Presentations

Lewis, A. 2012. Understanding Qualities and Behaviors of Wildland Fire Supervisors, presentations to wildland fire fighters and incident command:

  • Barry Point Fire, NIMO/Type 2 Incident Command Post, Lakeview, OR August, 2012.
  • Holloway Fire, Type 1 Incident Command Post, OR. August, 2012.
  • Fort Complex Fire, NIMO/Type 1 Incident Command Post, Yreka, CA. August, 2012.

Lewis, A. 2012. SHARP - Developing an Awareness-Based Decision-Making Tool with Wildland Fire Managers. 3rd Human Dimensions in Wildland Fire Conference, International Association of Wildland Fire, Seattle, WA April 17-19, 2012.