Reducing wildfire risk to lives and property is a critical issue for policy makers, land managers, and citizens who reside in high-risk fire areas of the United States - this is especially the case in the Rocky Mountain region and other western states. In order for a wildfire risk reduction effort to be effective in a U.S. wildland-urban interface (WUI) community, the risk reduction effort must include community support and engagement. However, WUI communities have a wide range of social, political and economic characteristics that make a "cookie-cutter" approach to wildfire management planning unrealistic and ultimately ineffective.
To provide guidance on collaboration in fire and fuel management as advocated by the Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003, scientists at the USDA Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station studied social factors and the diversity of U.S. WUI community types. Their ongoing research continues to be effective in developing tools and strategies that improve collaboration between agencies, organizations, communities, and citizens, and is enhancing WUI communities’ long-term social capacity to address wildfire risk.