A Tale of Two Fires: Retreat and Rebound a Decade After Wildfires in California and South Carolina
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Society & Natural Resources
In recent decades, wildfires have destroyed growing numbers of homes in the United States. Wildfire recovery has emerged as a critical time to reduce future vulnerability, yet we lack knowledge of how rebuilding efforts unfold over time, and are shaped by resident and housing characteristics, land use planning, and government regulations. We used a case study approach to document housing recovery a decade post-event for the Highway 31 fire in suburban South Carolina, and the Station fire in exurban California (both in 2009). We found divergent rebuilding and mitigation outcomes; rebuilding was rapid after the Highway 31 fire (all but one house rebuilt) but minimal (11.7% houses rebuilt) after the Station fire where a complex setting and regulation regime effected an ‘unmanaged retreat.’ We discuss implications for post-fire recovery programming and the need for longitudinal research as the world faces increasing wildfire losses.
KeywordsDisaster; hazard; managed retreat; recovery; WUI
Mockrin, Miranda H.; Fishler, Hillary K.; Kramer, H. Anu; Radeloff, Volker C.; Stewart, Susan I. 2022. A Tale of Two Fires: Retreat and Rebound a Decade After Wildfires in California and South Carolina. Society & Natural Resources. 35(8): 875-895. https://doi.org/10.1080/08941920.2022.2081895.