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Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority: A Case Study in Fire Resilient Governance

logo for the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority
May 2022
Miri Powell

In recent years, intensifying wildfires in California and the West have prompted renewed calls to enhance fire resiliency across many settings. Established in 2020, the Marin County Wildfire Prevention Authority (MWPA) promotes resiliency by coordinating fire preparedness projects across seventeen distinct agencies. MWPA is a useful case study for understanding the importance of effective governance structures in wildfire preparedness work in particular, as well as in climate resiliency more broadly. In this student paper, four practices that have been crucial to the authority's success are identified: allowing for flexibility within its structure, relying on the strengths of its member agencies, working closely with citizens and environmental groups to develop and apply a set of ecologically sound practices for all wildfire preparedness projects, and encouraging ongoing community involvement. These practices have allowed MWPA to build out gradually while implementing urgent fire preparedness projects and engaging with varied stakeholders and constituencies.

In the context of the continued wildfire risk, the MWPA’s experience may yield important lessons for wildfire preparedness initiatives in other communities. This report aims to offer an account of the MWPA’s experience, as well as the context from which it emerged.