Skip to main content

Wildfires, Communities, and Agencies: Stakeholders' Perceptions of Postfire Forest Restoration and Rehabilitation

Buy Article:

$29.50 plus tax (Refund Policy)


After wildfire, land managers are often called on to undertake complex restoration activities while also managing relations with wildfire-devastated communities. This research investigates the community–US Forest Service agency relations in the postwildfire period in three western US communities. In each community, we interviewed key informant representatives from government, business, environmental organizations, and recreation groups and conducted focus groups to gather input from residents located near burn areas. The goal was to understand how forest restoration and rehabilitation efforts and agency outreach were perceived by stakeholders who were recently affected by wildfire and how these perceptions were related to underlying community and fire conditions. Our findings suggest that four vectors interact to determine the level of expectations and need for agency–community engagement in the postfire period: (1) the extent and characteristics of the fire; (2) community economic, recreational, and emotional connection to the forest; (3) the history of agency–community relations; and (4) the level of volunteerism in the community. We provide a schematic of different types of collaboration relevant to the postfire period in which, generally, residents preferred action-oriented collaboration, while other agency personnel were more amenable to collaborative planning. On-the-ground volunteer restoration activities helped restore community spirit and improve agency–community relations, and increased education and outreach were desirable. The model developed in this research argues for agency responses that consider both the social and the ecological communities when planning postfire restoration projects.

Keywords: collaborative planning; place attachment and natural resources; postwildfire forest rehabilitation; western United States; wildland–urban interface

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-10-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 39.6 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
    Other SAF Publications
  • Submit a Paper
  • Membership Information
  • Author Guidelines
  • Podcasts
  • SAF Convention Abstracts
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more