Planning for Fire: Wildfire, Water Quality, and Local Preparedness in the West
WWA-supported graduate students Natalie Bennett and Carli Brucker discuss local fire risk reduction planning and water quality planning in the face of wildfire risk.
With wildfires increasing in frequency and intensity across the Western US, creating communities that are “fire adapted” can help lower risks to those living in fire-prone areas. Natalie utilizes semi-structured interview- and household-survey methodologies to explore the behavioral factors of fire adaptation. Her work focuses on both community-level dynamics and individual socio-psychological factors that enable effective risk management and support the growth of fire-adapted communities in the Colorado wildland-urban interface.
Wildfires have increased in size and severity over the past several decades and can drive significant changes in both water quality and supply. From laboratory-scale simulation apparatuses to basin-scale models developed with machine learning techniques, Carli and her team are completing a multi-scale analysis of burn effects on runoff, sediment, dissolved organic matter, and nitrogen. This will help water managers to prepare for and mitigate wildfire effects as they become an increasing threat.