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Wildfires and Urban Smoke

Wildland-Urban Interface, Wildfires, and Urban Smoke

America’s forests are burning at unprecedented rates. Recent conflagrations devastated countless homes and structures while destroying forests and severely damaging critical ecosystems on the fringe of urban zones. The social, economic and environmental impacts on land and communities deserve attention from policy makers, agencies and community action organizations.

Long-term efforts will require transdisciplinary solutions that are customized for unique characteristics of communities and ecosystems. Extension is positioned for a leadership role utilizing its historic social capital and skills in communication systems to engage stakeholders in developing on-the-ground solutions. WCMER is working with the Extension Foundation on this important urban-rural issue.

The project team developed a brief for the ECOP Climate Coalition, requesting endorsement for a significant planning process to define priorities for Cooperative Extension’s role in addressing the nation’s increasing frequency and severity of catastrophic wildfires, with particular regard for the intersection of forests and the built environment in the wildland-urban interface.