Community wildfire protection planning: Is the Healthy Forests Restoration Act's vagueness genius?

Pamela J. Jakes, Kristen C. Nelson, Sherry A. Enzler, Sam Burns, Antony S. Cheng, Victoria Sturtevant, Daniel R. Williams, Alexander Bujak, Rachel F. Brummel, Stephanie Grayzeck-Souter, Emily Staychock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (HFRA) encourages communities to develop community wildfire protection plans (CWPPs) to reduce their wildland fire risk and promote healthier forested ecosystems. Communities who have developed CWPPs have done so using many different processes, resulting in plans with varied form and content. We analysed data from 13 case-study communities to illustrate how the characteristics of HFRA have encouraged communities to develop CWPPs that reflect their local social and ecological contexts. A framework for analysing policy implementation suggests that some elements of HFRA could have made CWPP development and implementation problematic, but these potential shortcomings in the statute have provided communities the freedom to develop CWPPs that are relevant to their conditions and allowed for the development of capacities that communities are using to move forward in several areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-363
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2011


  • community capacity
  • policy implementation
  • wildfire management
  • wildland-urban interface


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