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Co-management of Fire Risk Transmission (CoMFRT): A collaborative approach to wildfire risk reduction

Fires originating on National Forests expose communities to wildfire in the Western US.
Fires originating on National Forests expose communities to wildfire in the Western United States.

The Co-management of Fire Risk Transmission (CoMFRT) team's goal is to improve public and private collaboration to increase ecological and social resilience and to reduce risk to communities from wildfire. CoMFRT is a new long-term project that examines the social and ecological dynamics and components of the current wildland fire system, how they contribute to the current fire situation, and identifies the most effective points of leverage for change.

The project focuses on communities where there is an especially high risk of wildfire transmission between U.S. Forest Service managed lands and private property. The National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy recognizes that successful land management will result in resilient ecosystems, fire-adapted communities, and safe and effective response to wildfire.

Additional project details

Example of fire risk transmission from National Forest lands to a community.
Example of fire risk being transmitted from National Forest lands to a community.
Increasing development in the wildland-urban interface, changing climatic conditions, varying forest health conditions, and differing perceptions of risk create complex physical and social environments for fire management. Developing effective long-term strategies for managing wildfire increasingly depends on cooperatively co-managing risks across landscapes that often encompass multiple communities, public and private stakeholders, individuals, and local organizations.

The CoMFRT project team will investigate and apply these concepts to the existing fire management system in specific hotspots. The project aims to improve long-term sustainability and community resilience to wildland fire risk, allow more fire on the landscape, and ultimately reduce the cost of wildland fire management in the United States. Working within regional hotspots, the project will allow us to understand how investments on national forests and in adjacent communities affect overall performance of the wildland fire management system, looking beyond fire protection as the only measure of success.

Examining the relationship between the environmental and social aspects of the wildland fire system is a central focus area of CoMFRT. By taking a systems approach to learning, the project will work to better understand the interconnectedness of the different pieces of the wildland fire system in selected communities in the western United States.