Human dimensions of wildfire: Examining wildfire risk mitigation on private property and across landscapes
Increasing wildfire risk poses a significant challenge to human communities in wildfire-prone areas and the organizations tasked with protecting private property and lives from fire. This talk covers three projects examining local approaches to addressing changing wildfire circumstances through fire service organizations and private property mitigations. The first effort focuses on the establishment and functioning of a citizen-based wildland fire suppression organization typically established in a public-land dominated setting that was recently implemented in a socially heterogeneous and fragmented landscape. I explore how the changes in local circumstances influence the functioning of this organization and its role in promoting landscape level fire resilience. The second effort uses a mixed-mode survey to explore residents’ perceptions of their fire service organizations and the influence of these perceptions, resident characteristics, and parcel characteristics on resident performance of wildfire risk mitigation actions on their property. The final project examines residents’ intended evacuation behaviors (i.e., evacuate, stay and defend, or shelter in place) and the wildfire mitigations group members performed to prepare for a wildfire event. Together, these studies illuminate the heterogeneity of fire-prone populations and their approaches to dealing with wildfire risk.
Department of Environmental Studies
Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center
San José State University
Dr. Stasiewicz received her B.S. in Environmental Science from Siena College and her MS and PhD from the University of Idaho. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at San José State University and a human dimensions specialist with SJSU’s Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center. Her research interests lie at the intersection of people, their wildfire environment, and policy. Some of her current work explores community adaptation to changing wildfire conditions, local preparation for and response to wildfire events, and citizen-agency partnerships for addressing landscape-level wildfire resilience issues.