U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



JFSP Project ID: 11-S-2-1


US government work.


This project examined existing programs and potential options for collaborations among the humanities, art, science, land management, and public concerning wildfire and wildfire policy and education. These programs and partnerships include creative residencies; conferences, workshops, and symposia; art-science collaborative field studies; and community programs and partnerships. We also reviewed how popular literature frames, reflects and has affected our cultural understanding of wildfire. Our analysis concludes that, compared to the richness of the subject of wildfire, compared to the way wildfire encapsulates all the complexities and controversies of culture, history, and ecology, wildfire’s potential as a literary subject remains largely unfulfilled. Our intention with the reviews of both the collaborative programs and fire literature is to provide resources to JFSP-funded Regional Consortia for using arts and humanities in outreach programs. Through several presentations, a Words on Fire conference co-hosted with the Northwest Consortium, consultations with other consortia, and other communications, we exchanged information about arts-humanities-science collaborations that can further JFSP consortia objectives. A survey of consortium leaders in December 2012 revealed that 3 consortia have recent or on-going arts/humanities activities, 6 plan to do have them within the next 3 years, and 2 have no plans now; so, despite funding and staff limitations, there is substantial interest across many of the consortia. Based on this background, we suggest a plan of action: Given the substantial interest of Consortia and high levels of interest in the recent Alaska and Northwest Consortia arts/humanities programs, it seems appropriate to continue a modest level of support for arts/humanities engagements as part of outreach programs at appropriate consortia. In addition to supporting near-term outreach objectives, sustaining arts/humanities collaborations would broaden the base of experience among consortia, so that, if public outreach becomes a higher JFSP priority in the future, the consortia would be in a stronger position to engage in these fruitful partnerships. Specific steps are suggested.