Social science to advance wildfire adaptation in the southwestern United States: a review and future research directions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Social science that seeks to advance wildfire adaptation in the southwestern US states of Arizona and New Mexico remains underdeveloped in comparison with other regions in the USA. Aim. To identify key themes in the existing social science literature on wildfire in the Southwest and to determine future research needs that can inform more strategic adaptation across scales and contexts. Methods. This article presents an in-depth literature review, organising findings using the Fire Adapted Communities Framework. Key results. Research on social aspects of wildfire in the southwestern USA has continued to diversify and broaden in scope over time, but some foundational lines of inquiry (such as public support for prescribed fire) have become outdated while other areas of study (such as fire prevention) have not been explored at all. Conclusions. Opportunities to advance wildfire social science efforts in the Southwest are abundant and well positioned to inform social understandings in other regions and countries. Implications. Researchers wishing to conduct social science research related to wildfire in the Southwest should seek to update and diversify knowledge in this field both through strategic selection of study sites and populations and via intentional, rigorous research design that acknowledges and elevates the nuances of social interactions with wildfire.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1647-1662
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 17 2023


  • adaptation
  • Arizona
  • communities
  • human dimensions of wildfire
  • literature review
  • New Mexico
  • social science
  • southwestern USA
  • wildfire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Ecology


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