Publication Date

Summer 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies


Amanda Stasiewicz; Will Russell; Kate Wilkin


Prescribed fire is one way to improve the adaptive capacity of communities in the wildland urban interface in terms of managing wildfire risk and meeting socio-ecological goals. In California, Prescribed Burn Associations (PBAs) are a way of organizing private landowners with the goal of engaging in more widespread and frequent prescribed fires. This research uses semi-structured interviews with private landowners, along with key informants from public agencies such as CalFire and Regional Parks, to explore PBA development and functioning in northern coastal California. Sonoma and Marin counties were chosen as the primary study sites as they are represented by the Good Fire Alliance (GFA), an active PBA that has been in existence for several years. We found that the GFA was a diverse community of local residents and fire professionals focused on increasing local capacity with regard to prescribed fire implementation, and that engagement with PBA events and burns increased members’ fire literacy. Relationships between local fire agencies and private landowners improved in the years since the PBA’s development, and the GFA may be filling a niche for smaller landowners implementing prescribed fire that professional fire agencies might otherwise be unwilling to devote resources toward Keywords: adaptive capacity, fire adapted communities, prescribed burn association, prescribed fire, wildfire