Date of Graduation

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

Stephanie Siehr


California’s wildfire threat eclipses current forestry management and wildfire mitigation strategies in place to protect people, infrastructure, and the natural environment. Climate change escalates wildfire risks with declining water supply coupled with hotter, drier conditions. California’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan attempts to integrate and build upon previously successful wildfire resilience plans to amplify the scale and pace of the state’s land management and community protections. This research assesses the plan’s efficacy to respond to the growing wildfire threat. This study investigates if there is equitable planning for the needs of high-wildfire risk groups living in the WUI and on tribal lands. It also compares the plan structure and initial implementation against a wildfire & forestry management planning framework to determine its potential for success. Lastly, this study reviews the forestry-, community-, economy-, and technology-focused actions against the Arup City Resilience Framework to identify strengths and opportunities for a resilient wildfire management approach. Land treatment and resident outreach and education efforts planned for WUI areas target the key protective needs for those communities. Most work to improve training, grant funding, and partnership opportunities for Native American Indigenous communities is structured through federal and state approval systems. To make wildfire management practices more equitable, more authoritative power should be given to Tribal leadership and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) should be meaningfully integrated into prescribed fire training and goals. The structure of the Action Plan satisfies all planning criteria, but the development of the proposed Forest & Wildland Stewardship Interagency Tracking System will enhance consistency, transparency, and accountability of progress reporting and accessibility. The key actions fulfill Arup’s twelve resilience dimensions, but a gap analysis identifies opportunity for future planning to build upon safeguards to human health. State facilitation of county-level emergency plan sharing will strengthen multi-jurisdictional coordination and instill a shared sense of ownership in building California’s wildfire resilience.