Date of Award

Spring 2007

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources and Environmental Studies

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Mimi L Becker


Recently, national fire policy has been redirected from a primary focus on suppression towards a more integrated and comprehensive approach developed at the community level. As part of this policy shift, Congress passed the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (P.L. 108-148) in 2003 encouraging communities to develop community wildfire protection plans (CWPPs) to guide fuel reduction and wildfire mitigation efforts on both federal and nonfederal lands. This research examines U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and community collaboration in the development of CWPPs through a case study analysis of four communities in two western states. The social and decision-making processes used in the development of CWPPs are examined in each community using the policy sciences approach and decision process framework. A cross-case comparison reveals the influence of social process factors and effectiveness of each community's decision process to address the wildfire problem. The primary finding of this research is the critical role played by the USFS in the success of CWPP planning efforts. Additional recommendations are provided for improving the effectiveness of community decision-making processes to address this important and pressing management issue.