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ISRN Forestry
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 253028, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/253028
Research Article

Understanding the Role of Planners in Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation

Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 109 Hills North, 111 Thatcher Road, Office 1, Amherst, MA 01003-9328, USA

Received 19 January 2012; Accepted 8 February 2012

Academic Editors: P. Newton, P. Peri, and A. Santini

Copyright © 2012 Menka Bihari et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

As wildfires affect more residential areas across the United States, the need for collaboration between land managers, federal agencies, neighbours, and local governments has become more pressing especially in the context of the wildland-urban interface. Previous research has not focused much on land-use planners’ role in wildfire mitigation. This paper provides information on how land-use planners can assist communities in learning to live with wildfire risk through planning, preparedness, and mitigation efforts in the wildland-urban interface (WUI). Based on interviews with land-use planners, forest planners, and local emergency management officials, we identified a range of tools that could be used for improving wildfire preparedness and mitigation initiatives in the WUI, but also found that planners felt that they lacked the regulatory authority to use these tenaciously. The paper also identifies a range of possible actions that would contribute towards safer building practices in the interface communities.