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Type: Report
Author(s): Tait K. Rutherford; Courtney A. Schultz
Publication Date: 2017

Under projected patterns of climate change, models predict an increase in wildland fire activity in Alaska, which is likely to strain the capacity of the fire governance system under current arrangements (Melvin et al., 2017; Pastick et al., 2017). The Alaska wildland fire governance system consists of the actors, networks, and institutions, including policies and laws, that influence wildland fire management. This system is already adjusting to the effects of a changing climate, but future climate change presents significant uncertainties, with possible higher interannual variability for fire extent and severity that may necessitate new approaches to fire management (Kasischke et al., 2010; Rupp et al., 2016). This report presents the results of interviews that we conducted as part of a broader Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) project on the future impacts of climate change on fire management in Alaska. Our team assessed fire regime projections using the Alaska FrameBased Ecosystem Code (ALFRESCO) model and interviewed fire managers to understand perceptions of challenges and strategies in the governance system, specifically regarding anticipated changes to fire regimes as a result of climate change. We synthesized our interview data to create future fire governance alternatives, which we will later input into the ALFRESCO model to project fire regime scenarios. Throughout this process, we are working iteratively with the fire management community, with the primary goal of understanding the implications of future management alternatives for fire regimes and whether changes to current management approaches may be desirable.

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Link to this document (1.2 MB; pdf)
Citation: Rutherford, Tait K.; Schultz, Courtney A. 2017. Challenges and opportunities in Alaska fire management: adapting to climate change: a practitioner’s report on interview findings. Report for Joint Fire Science Program Project 16-1-01-18: Impacts of Climate and Management Options on Wildland Fire Fighting in Alaska: Implications for Operational Costs and Complexity under Future Scenarios. 14 p.

Cataloging Information

Climate    Fire Behavior    Models    Outreach    Planning
  • adaptation
  • climate change
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • governance
  • interviews
JFSP Project Number(s):
  • 16-1-01-18
Record Last Modified:
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 25799