Spring 2021: California Wildfire Management

Spring 2021

California Wildfire Management

For the spring 2021 semester, our POSC 395 Policy Research Internship students researched how California’s wildfire management policies can adapt and improve. This project required students to take a comprehensive look at state and local responses to wildfire damage throughout California’s diverse landscape. This topic is particularly important as the threat of wildfires is increasing in California and around the world. They presented their extensive research and policy recommendations for best practices in the future to our partner, California State Senator Ben Allen's Office (D-CA).

Amara Bryson, a junior (senior standing) majoring in Political Science, said this about her research experience, "This spring I had the opportunity to be a part of the POSC 395 Research project surrounding taking a comprehensive look at California’s wildfire management practices for State Senator Ben Allen (D-A). As wildfires worsen each year in the state, this project was important because it surrounded proposing policy recommendations in this area to mitigate the issue. My role in this project was to look into best state practices across the country by researching natural disaster bills and legislation and pulling the most effective practices to see if their implementation in California would be useful in the realm of wildfires. This research internship taught me so much more about the legislative process, as well as what California is working to improve when it comes to wildfire mitigation, prevention, and preparation. Not only will I take away many of the research techniques and practices I have gained throughout this experience, but I will also take away many of the collaborative skills I’ve learned as well, [especially] when it comes to group projects in the future as it becomes more emphasized.”

Project: California Wildfire Management

USC Students: Amara Bryson, Brandon Deutsch, Ryan Koh, and Priya Kumar

Research Question: How can California’s wildfire management policies adapt and improve?

Policy Recommendations:

  1. Adopt a polycentric governance model to engage local communities in emergency preparedness, education, and policy creation.
  2. Create statewide requirements to establish protocols in the event of a catastrophic fire.
  3. Invest more in Cal Fire fuel management resources for employees, equipment, and projects.
  4. Create incentives for fuel reductions on private lands.
  5. Private Insurance Companies and the government must agree on California’s property value to implement proper and affordable homeowner insurance for California residents.

Read the group's full research presentation.

Watch the video presentation on California Wildfire Management.