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Wildland Urban Interface Governance

Co-leads: Brian Gerber, Steve Jensen

Brief Description

The goal of the Wildland Urban Interface Governance (WUI) SIG is to provide a forum for consideration of the intersection of science and policy relevant to the WUI fire hazard in order to share usable knowledge for risk reduction and community resilience. While the science behind fire at the WUI is extensive, robust and sufficient in many respects, it is also spread across several distinct domains and, like many similar knowledge domains, critical information exchange is not guaranteed—nor does sound science automatically translate to effective risk management practices. Greater integration of disaster science and applied practice is fundamental to more effective reduce risk strategies and community resilience capacity building. An understanding of the multidimensional and interactive nature of the WUI fire hazard requires an appreciation of the complexities of risk interdependencies—and is necessary to develop more effective governance, including establishing sound public policies across the federal system, robust cross-sector cooperation and collaboration, increased public awareness and efficacious management practices. With over 43,000,000 homes in the WUI across the United States, the scale of escalating risk requires comprehensive public policy improvements that can be readily adapted and implemented across a diverse and wide range of communities. Further, while this SIG endeavors to contribute to effective governance in the U.S., the WUI challenge is one that is applicable across the globe. As such, the SIG will seek to invite engagement from colleagues located in other national systems. It also recognizes a need for improve WUI awareness in higher education programs across the U.S. and abroad. In sum, the SIG will seek to serve as a venue for practitioner and academic exchange on WUI topics to contribute to improvements in governance.

Working Objectives

  1. Development of a comprehensive WUI Fire Risk framework and sense-making of complex risks.
  2. Review of the relevant disaster science and assessment of areas of improved governance in the U.S. and abroad.
  3. Create and promote easy access to WUI-related disaster science and public policy and management innovation through a web-based dashboard.
  4. Promote effective policy development and implementation tools.
  5. Promote a venue for exchange between practitioners and the higher education community.
  6. Produce policy reports or related documentation to contribute to public discourse serve as a resource for practice improvements.

Next Steps: Objectives, Projects, or Activities

  1. The Co-Leads invite participants to join the Wildland Urban interface Governance SIG. Please contact either Brian or Steve, or both, if you would like further information about joining the SIG.
  2. An initial meeting of the WUI Governance SIG will be scheduled for early December 2020.

Projects or Activities

Three initial project efforts are already in motion:

  1. The WUI Governance SIG will host a data dashboard relevant to interface fire risk issues and to serve as a portal for connecting university and other subject matter experts with project partners in the public sector.
  2. Several initial white papers on managing interface fire risk are being developed.
  3. Outreach to international partners in several countries where WUI concerns are similar to the U.S. context (e.g. Australia, New Zealand) are being pursued to allow for information exchange across national systems.

SIG Co-leads

Brian Gerber, Ph.D.
Arizona State University
Brian.Gerber@asu.edu

Steve Jensen, Ph.D.
California State University, Long Beach
steven.jensen@csulb.edu

 
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