OPAL & ASC Collaborate to Enhance Wildfire Resiliency

Published:November 15, 2023
November 15, 2023

The Oregon State University Policy Analysis Lab (OPAL) and the Western Fire Chiefs Association’s Applied Sciences Center (ASC) collaborate to increase resiliency to wildfire, focusing on the social impacts of wildfire on the community.

OSU Policy Analysis Lab and WFCA’s Applied Sciences Center Collaborate to Enhance Wildfire Resiliency by Advancing Social Science Research

The Western Fire Chiefs Association’s (WFCA) Board of Directors is committed to advancing progress on mitigation and building resiliency to wildfire across our communities. The recently published report from the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission (WFMMC) outlines 148 recommendations to Congress, aiming to address the escalating wildfire crisis that endangers communities nationwide.

Within the report, the Commission recommends the construction of a forward-looking framework that incorporates modern science and technology into the proposed solutions, alongside a specific call for advancements in social science to strengthen community resilience. “As the wildfire crisis necessitates policy action that takes into account multiple and complex needs, social science can help untangle some of our biggest challenges” (WFMMC Report, p. 205).

Moreover, the Commission’s report emphasizes the need for further research to identify social vulnerability and advocates for strategic investments aimed at reducing the disproportionate risks faced by this demographic (WFMMC Recommdation #145). In line with this commitment, the WFCA’s Applied Sciences Center is excited to announce a strategic partnership with Oregon State University’s Policy Analysis Lab (OPAL) to advance social science research focused at mitigating the disparate impacts of wildfires on socially vulnerable communities.

“Oregon State University’s leadership in interdisciplinary policy studies makes them a great partner to advance the agenda on studying and developing wildfire policy to help protect our communities from the current and future destruction of wildfire.” – Bob Horton, WFCA ASC Director.

“OPAL is proud to partner with the progressive leadership of the WFCA to contribute to the applied research necessary to inform sound public policy reducing the risk of wildfire to our communities, particularly the most socially vulnerable among us.” – Mark Edwards, Ph.D., OPAL Director and Professor of Sociology.

The ASC serves as an intermediary between industry, business, non-profits, communities, and academic institutions to advance mutually beneficial endeavors and assist with strengthening the innovation ecosystem in public service.

OPAL provides opportunities for professors and students to conduct research on real world policy problems in fields such as education, energy, climate change, and disaster response. Students use the quantitative and qualitative skills they have learned in class to provide support to clients facing
substantive issues in the policy world. Our projects address several different policy areas and bring community clients, students, and researchers together.

For inquiries about this collaboration please contact:

WFCA contact information:
Chief Bob Horton (Ret.)
[email protected]

OPAL contact information:
Mark Edwards, PhD
[email protected]

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