Date of Graduation

Spring 5-19-2023

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

Aviva Rossi


Wildfires have become a leading concern throughout the increasing residential communities of wildland-urban interface areas. Decades of fire suppression and climate change shifts have caused the fire regimes within California to become more frequent and severe. The shifting patterns in landscape to accommodate more housing has caused billions of dollars in wildfire destructions. Yet homeowners who have been impacted continue to rebuild within the same wildfire perimeter. To help homeowners and communities who are still in the process of rebuilding within the Santa Cruz Mountains, which was impacted by the 2020 CZU Lightening Complex Fire, this research aimed to assess which rebuilding incentives would be most beneficial to their recovery process. This was done by through a comparative analysis of incentives offered to homeowners who rebuilt following the 2017 “Wine Country Wildfires” in Sonoma and Napa County. These are two study areas in a similar region with differences in demographics, landscapes, and rebuild stages. From there a literature review was conducted to also understand the role of insurance companies during immediate recovery following a wildfire and how homeowners can increase their participation within Firewise programs. Preliminary results concluded that a variety of incentives offered different resources to homeowners, insurer-initiated homeowner policy non-renewals are increasing, and homeowner participation within fire resiliency programs depends on wildfire history, means, and local agency led interactions. The following recommendations were made: 1) agencies should offer “well rounded” incentive programs to impacted homeowners, 1a) incentive programs should be led by local or regional agencies, 1b) a regional incentive database should be created, 2) provide insurance credits for individual and community risk mitigation, 2a) create an insurance natural disaster statewide response team, 3) lead fire resiliency programs locally and transparently to increase homeowner participation, and finally 3a) create a community cost share program for wildfire mitigation. These recommendations will help homeowners who are rebuilding from wildfire impact and create communities that are more resilient to wildfires.