Topical Collection "Rethinking Wildland Fire Governance: A Series of Perspectives"

Editors

Prof. Dr. Alistair M. S. Smith
E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Mr. Stephen D. Fillmore
E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Department of Forest, Rangeland, and Fire Sciences, University of Idaho, 875 Perimeter Drive MS 1133, Moscow, ID 83844-1133, USA
Interests: prescribed fire and fuels

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Topical Issue of Fire invites Perspectives and Case Reports (syntheses and reviews) focused on ideas to transform how wildland fire governance is approached across the world. We start the Topical Issue with a Perspective that raises questions associated with taking a Tabula Rasa, or clean slate, "what if" reflection on wildfire governance. We welcome responses to that Perspective as well as additional contributions associated with the following themes:

- Perspectives on novel approaches that advance ways for coexisting (or living) with fire;

- Perspectives on local and national wildland fire policies, and how they are helping or hindering wildfire goals;

- Perspectives on what the shared stewardship of landscape fire means across the spectrum of actors;

- Perspectives on what it really means, as is so often advocated, to ‘increase fire on the landscape’;

- Perspectives of traditional ecological knowledge and how it can help to inform wildfire management.

Dr. Alistair M. S. Smith
Mr. Stephen D. Fillmore
Collection Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the collection website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Fire is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (6 papers)

2021

Jump to: 2020

Review
A Mixed Methods Literature Review and Framework for Decision Factors That May Influence the Utilization of Managed Wildfire on Federal Lands, USA
Fire 2021, 4(3), 62; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fire4030062 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 935
Abstract
There is increasing discussion in the academic and agency literature, as well as popular media, about the need to address the existing deficit of beneficial fire on landscapes. One approach allowable under United States federal wildland fire policy that could help address this [...] Read more.
There is increasing discussion in the academic and agency literature, as well as popular media, about the need to address the existing deficit of beneficial fire on landscapes. One approach allowable under United States federal wildland fire policy that could help address this condition is by deliberately managing wildfire with a strategy other than full suppression (hereafter referred to as ‘managed wildfire’). To improve the understanding of the managed fire decision-making process, we conducted a mixed methods review of the existing literature. This review spanned 1976 to 2013 and used thematic coding to identify key factors that affect the decision to manage a wildfire. A total of 110 descriptive factors categories were identified. These were classified into six key thematic groups, which addressed specific decision considerations. This nexus of factors and decision pathways formed what we describe as the ‘Managed Fire Decision Framework’, which contextualizes important pressures, barriers, and facilitators related to managed wildfire decision-making. The most prevalent obstacles to managing wildfire were operational concerns and risk aversion. The factor most likely to support managing a fire was the decision maker’s desire to see the strategy be implemented. Ultimately, we found that the managed fire decision-making process is extremely complex, and that this complexity may itself be a barrier to its implementation. Full article
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Perspective
Catastrophic Bushfires, Indigenous Fire Knowledge and Reframing Science in Southeast Australia
Fire 2021, 4(3), 61; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fire4030061 - 09 Sep 2021
Viewed by 2032
Abstract
The catastrophic 2019/2020 Black Summer bushfires were the worst fire season in the recorded history of Southeast Australia. These bushfires were one of several recent global conflagrations across landscapes that are homelands of Indigenous peoples, homelands that were invaded and colonised by European [...] Read more.
The catastrophic 2019/2020 Black Summer bushfires were the worst fire season in the recorded history of Southeast Australia. These bushfires were one of several recent global conflagrations across landscapes that are homelands of Indigenous peoples, homelands that were invaded and colonised by European nations over recent centuries. The subsequent suppression and cessation of Indigenous landscape management has had profound social and environmental impacts. The Black Summer bushfires have brought Indigenous cultural burning practices to the forefront as a potential management tool for mitigating climate-driven catastrophic bushfires in Australia. Here, we highlight new research that clearly demonstrates that Indigenous fire management in Southeast Australia produced radically different landscapes and fire regimes than what is presently considered “natural”. We highlight some barriers to the return of Indigenous fire management to Southeast Australian landscapes. We argue that to adequately address the potential for Indigenous fire management to inform policy and practice in managing Southeast Australian forest landscapes, scientific approaches must be decolonized and shift from post-hoc engagement with Indigenous people and perspectives to one of collaboration between Indigenous communities and scientists. Full article
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Concept Paper
Transcending Parallel Play: Boundary Spanning for Collective Action in Wildfire Management
Fire 2021, 4(3), 41; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fire4030041 - 30 Jul 2021
Viewed by 857
Abstract
A key challenge in the United States is how to manage wildfire risk across boundaries and scales, as roles, responsibilities, and ability to act are distributed among actors in ways that do not always incentivize collective action. In this review paper, we provide [...] Read more.
A key challenge in the United States is how to manage wildfire risk across boundaries and scales, as roles, responsibilities, and ability to act are distributed among actors in ways that do not always incentivize collective action. In this review paper, we provide several conceptual contributions to the understanding of wildfire management through the application of boundary spanning frameworks. This includes: (1) a characterization of four major types of boundaries in managing wildfire risk; (2) a review of major boundary spanning features and frameworks that integrate them; and (3) consideration of current and potential applications of the boundary spanning construct to the domain of wildfire management. Our goal is to advance knowledge of how actors in this arena may overcome “parallel play” to more collectively address wildfire risk. We generate new thinking about wildfire management, and offer potential implications and questions for future research, policy, and management. Full article
Article
Facilitating Prescribed Fire in Northern California through Indigenous Governance and Interagency Partnerships
Fire 2021, 4(3), 37; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fire4030037 - 16 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1766
Abstract
Prescribed burning by Indigenous people was once ubiquitous throughout California. Settler colonialism brought immense investments in fire suppression by the United States Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CAL FIRE) to protect timber and structures, effectively limiting prescribed [...] Read more.
Prescribed burning by Indigenous people was once ubiquitous throughout California. Settler colonialism brought immense investments in fire suppression by the United States Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CAL FIRE) to protect timber and structures, effectively limiting prescribed burning in California. Despite this, fire-dependent American Indian communities such as the Karuk and Yurok peoples, stalwartly advocate for expanding prescribed burning as a part of their efforts to revitalize their culture and sovereignty. To examine the political ecology of prescribed burning in Northern California, we coupled participant observation of prescribed burning in Karuk and Yurok territories (2015–2019) with 75 surveys and 18 interviews with Indigenous and non-Indigenous fire managers to identify political structures and material conditions that facilitate and constrain prescribed fire expansion. Managers report that interagency partnerships have provided supplemental funding and personnel to enable burning, and that decentralized prescribed burn associations facilitate prescribed fire. However, land dispossession and centralized state regulations undermine Indigenous and local fire governance. Excessive investment in suppression and the underfunding of prescribed fire produces a scarcity of personnel to implement and plan burns. Where Tribes and local communities have established burning infrastructure, authorities should consider the devolution of decision-making and land repatriation to accelerate prescribed fire expansion. Full article
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2020

Jump to: 2021

Perspective
Prescribed Burns in California: A Historical Case Study of the Integration of Scientific Research and Policy
Fire 2020, 3(3), 44; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fire3030044 - 19 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2154
Abstract
Over the past century, scientific understanding of prescribed burns in California’s forests transitioned from being interpreted as ecologically harmful to highly beneficial. The state’s prescribed burn policies mirrored this evolution. Harold Biswell, a University of California at Berkeley ecologist, studied prescribed burns and [...] Read more.
Over the past century, scientific understanding of prescribed burns in California’s forests transitioned from being interpreted as ecologically harmful to highly beneficial. The state’s prescribed burn policies mirrored this evolution. Harold Biswell, a University of California at Berkeley ecologist, studied prescribed burns and became a major advocate for their use during the 1950s and 1960s. Drawing primarily on archival materials from Biswell and the state government, this historical case study presents an example of how a scientist successfully contributed to integrating research into policy and practice through consistent and targeted science communication to gain allies among environmental organizations, local stakeholders, and governments. Though at first isolated by his academic peers for proposing that fire could provide environmental benefits in forests, Biswell continued conducting and sharing his research and findings with academic and non-academic audiences. Over several decades, Biswell engaged in conversations which ultimately advanced policy changes at the state level to expand the use of prescribed burns. Despite lacking a formal role in government, Biswell used his academic platform to promote the policy implications of his research. Current and future researchers can draw on these lessons to advocate effectively for other science-informed policies. Full article
Perspective
Taking a Tabula Rasa Approach to Wildfire Governance: A Thought Experiment and Call for Papers and an Open Dialogue on the Topical Issue of Fire
Fire 2020, 3(2), 19; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fire3020019 - 05 Jun 2020
Viewed by 951
Abstract
This perspective serves as a preface to the Topical Issue of Fire and presents an opportunity, framed within the classic approach of a thought experiment, to discuss how a new wildfire governance framework may be created from the ground up, if it were [...] Read more.
This perspective serves as a preface to the Topical Issue of Fire and presents an opportunity, framed within the classic approach of a thought experiment, to discuss how a new wildfire governance framework may be created from the ground up, if it were unencumbered by any existing construct, or experiences. It is not specific to any one country or fire regime; rather, it is intended merely to stimulate a wider conversation about where we are at collectively, and where we may want to move to in the future with our policies, organization, science, management, technology; or any of the myriad components that comprise the greater discipline of wildland fire science and management. The authors suggest that loosening the shackles of reality may allow for innovative discussion and the generation of transformative ideas to help ecosystems and communities better coexist with fire. We invite perspectives to submit to this Topical Issue on all aspects of wildfire governance, including reviews and perspectives. We also welcome perspectives on how to adapt wildfire governance in the face of exceptional events such as pandemics, earthquakes, famines, and war. Full article
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