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Wildfire Adapted Partnership: Enabling Wildfire Mitigation in SW Colorado & Investigating How the 416 Fire Influenced Behaviors of Residents

Co-sponsored by Wildfire Adapted Partnership, Colorado Natural Hazards Center, Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism at USU

Wildfire Adapted Partnership is a nonprofit organization that seeks to protect lives and property from wildfire by inspiring, educating and enabling individuals and communities in southwest Colorado. In this presentation, participants will learn about WAP’s education and incentive programs for residents including its unique Neighborhood Ambassador program that utilizes volunteers as sparkplugs in their communities in order to accomplish more wildfire preparedness. We will also take a look at how this approach proved beneficial during the 416 Fire that burned north of Durango last summer.

We (Lauren) surveyed residents of La Plata county living in the evacuation and pre-evacuation zones during the 416 fire. We asked residents to identify their thoughts on the likeliness that a fire could occur both before and after the 416 fire, as well as identify mitigation actions that were taken before and after. I will build on the WAP presentation and provide results that illustrate how the 416 fire shaped resident perceptions of future wildfires and their intentions to mitigate risk on their property.

Ashley Downing is the Executive Director of Wildfire Adapted Partnership, a nonprofit organization located in Durango that focuses on wildfire education and risk mitigation in the five southwest counties of Colorado. Ashley is also on the Board of Directors of Fire Adapted Colorado, a statewide network that serves individuals and organizations that are committed to reducing the negative impacts of wildfires in the state. Ashley holds a BS in Journalism with a minor in French from the University of Colorado, Boulder and an MA in Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in California.

Lauren Dupéy is a PhD Candidate at Utah State University studying the human dimensions of wildfire in the Intermountain West. Lauren has studied wildfire preparedness and mitigation in Utah and Colorado as well as conducted an integrative review of the current methodology used in the human dimensions of wildfire literature. Her research interests include wildfire mitigation and how various thought processes and environmental factors influence the way individuals who live in fire prone areas choose to mitigate their risks. Lauren holds a B.S. in Psychology from Michigan Technological University, a M.S. from North Carolina State University, and is expecting to complete her Ph.D. at Utah State University in the fall of 2019. 

Created by Megan Dettenmaier

Primary Audience: Public