Farming through wildfire season Program

Wildfires & Agriculture Research

Shedding light on the impacts and response strategies used by agricultural communities to wildfire in California.

Bridging the gap: Wildfire and Agriculture in California

Agriculture and agricultural communities pay an important role in managing our risk to wildfire. In addition, they may be one of the most impacted sectors during a wildfires catastrophe. Yet, almost no research exists at the nexus of wildfires and agriculture. This action research project will assess how small, family farmers in California are impacted by, responding to, and recovering from wildfires. We hope to then provide research-based solutions and educational materials for our agricultural community and recommendations for policy.

Through this research we aim to increase the quality of life for agricultural communities facing devastating threats of wildfire by equipping them with the practical tools to increase resilience to fire, sharing proposed adaptation strategies, and in turn supporting the viability of agricultural communities in fire prone regions.

The Action-Research Approach

Our Research Goals

We use a variety of research tools including field interviews, participant observation, a statewide survey and document analysis to bring the voices of a diversity or agricultural operators into the public conversation about how to respond to wildfires. Our research and wider program is also a tool for funneling resources to community-based organizations and to agricultural operators and workers themselves.

The first goal of this project is to address the research and extension gaps at the intersection of wildfires and agriculture. We do this through a multi-sited comparative analysis of the impacts and response strategies of producers confronting wildfires, and will extend the findings to practitioners through our training programs. We expect to uncover and elucidate precautions that farmers can take to reduce their wildfire risk. We also expect to find critical gaps that agricultural professionals, disaster response personnel, institutions, and government can fill.The research is driven by two questions (1) What types of agronomic, economic and social impacts are farmers experiencing during and after wildfires? (2) What are the characteristics of farmers who have been most and least impacted by wildfires? What are their strategies, resources, social contexts, and networks?

Our second goal is to equip farmers and farming communities with practical tools to increase their resilience to wildfire and to demonstrate the ways in which agricultural producers, as fuel load managers, support our regional ability to co-exist with wildfire.  Finally, we’ll develop the Farming Through Wildfire Season Workbook, and then we will extend our findings in training sessions in high fire-risk regions.

Participate
We invite you to be a part of the work

We welcome partnerships with agricultural producers, policy workers, agency representatives, other scientists with data that could potentially correlate with ours, graduate students and community partners. Contact Principle Investigator Natalia Pinzón at npinzon@ucdavis.edu to discuss.

We will be releasing the survey in April 2022. Write us at contact@farmercampus.com to receive the survey when it is ready.

Got a wildfires story to share? We will be interviewing agricultural producers over the next two years. Write to Katie Brimm at katie@farmercampus.com to share your story with us.

Research Team & Advisors

Natalia Pinzón Jiménez

Principle investigator
Doctoral Candidate Geography Graduate Group
U.C. Davis

Dr. Ryan Galt

Political Ecology of Food Systems
Director - Agricultural Sustainability Institute
U.C. Davis

Dr. Tapan Pathak

Climate Change Adaptation in Agriculture
cooperative extension
U.C. Merced

Dr. Clara Nicholls

Climate Resilience of Agroecosystems
U.C. Berkeley

Dr. Mark Cooper

climate change, agriculture, and the environment
U.C Davis

Dr. Vikram Koundinya

program development and evaluation in ag extension
Cooperative Extension
U.C. Davis

Research Partners

Get in touch

npinzon [at] ucdavis.edu

Contact Principle Investigator: Natalia Pinzon Jimenez to learn more, participate or partner in this research.

“This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award Numbers 2018-70027-28587, RMA21CPT0011602, Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program G226-22-W8617 and AFRI EWD Predoctoral Award #2022-67011-36637. USDA is an equal opportunity employer and service provider.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, any reference to specific brands or types of products or services does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for those products or services.”