News Jun 24, 2012
Problems in the wildland-urban interface
Lloyd Burton. View Biography
In politics and public policy, narratives are a very big deal. Those who craft and control the dominant narrative exert a lot of influence over how we perceive public problems and how we identify solutions.
The existing narrative for wildfires in the wildlands-urban interface (WUI) is problematic. The end result is that every fire season, we spend whatever it takes to suppress wildfires once they have started, but only a sliver of that amount on proven preventive techniques for minimizing life and property loss in WIU wildfires.
We have three problems with our narrative: First, it is an urban narrative applied to a mostly rural landscape; that is, it reports on WUI wildfires as if they were urban fires. The initial focus is always on proximate causes (what ignited the fire), followed by a quest for fault-finding, usually around the issues of why the fire wasn't immediately eradicated or why everyone may not have been moved out of harm's way.
News Source: The Denver Post
ENVS Faculty: Lloyd Burton
ENVS News Category: Media Story
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