One of the immediate challenges of wildfire management concerns threats to human safety and property in residential areas adjacent to non-cultivated vegetation. One approach for relieving this problem is to increase human community ‘adaptiveness’ to deal with the risk and reality of fire in a variety of landscapes. The challenge in creating ‘fire-adapted communities’ (FACs) is the great diversity in character and make-up of populations at risk from wildfire. This paper outlines a recently developed categorization scheme for Wildland–Urban Interface (WUI) communities based on a larger conceptual approach for understanding how social diversity is likely to influence the creation of FACs. The WUI categorization scheme situates four community archetypes on a continuum that recognizes dynamic change in human community functioning. We use results from the WUI classification scheme to outline key characteristics associated with each archetype and results from recent case studies to demonstrate the diversity across WUI communities. Differences among key characteristics of local social context will likely result in the need for different adaptation strategies to wildfire. While the WUI archetypes described here may not be broadly applicable to other parts of the world, we argue that the conceptual approach and strategies for systematically documenting local influences on wildfire adaptation have potential for broad application.
This article is part of the themed issue ‘The interaction of fire and mankind’.
One contribution of 24 to a discussion meeting issue ‘The interaction of fire and mankind’.
- Accepted February 29, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.