Boulder County Fire Wildfire marks a ridge in Boulder County. ©Garry Sanfaçon

By Jolie Breeden

As smoke from a 74-acre wildfire loomed over Boulder last month, the Natural Hazards Center reached out to researchers and practitioners to get their perspectives on the event. What we learned is that while wildfire remains a constant, how we live with—and cause—wildfires is changing.

This wasn’t a huge surprise—we know wildfire season is now nearly continual and climate conditions exacerbate the threat. More and more homes and infrastructure exist in the wildfire-urban interface, and that affects both how we fight wildfires and what we do to keep them at bay.

As we heard back from our neighbors in the field, however, a common theme was surfaced more than once. Throughout the area, researchers, community members, governments, and fire managers see collaboration as the way forward in reducing the impacts of wildfire.

We’re fortunate to be able to publish two articles written by those in the thick of these efforts: In Near Misses and Far Sightedness Hannah Brenkert-Smith and the Wildfire Research (WiRē) Team discuss the positive impacts innovative approaches to collaborating with communities can have and how they help homeowners reduce their risk.

Similarly, Boulder County Fire Management Officer Jay Stalnacker reflects on fire in the wildland urban interface in We Cannot Stand Alone—including the human impacts, and how we, as humans, can work together to mitigate them.

We hope you’ll find these glimpses into some practical efforts happening in our backyard eye opening, useful, and heartening look of at least one of the ways we can work to reduce our risks.