The University of Arizona

Fire in Indian Country: Two Case Studies in the Southwestern United States | CLIMAS

Fire in Indian Country: Two Case Studies in the Southwestern United States

TitleFire in Indian Country: Two Case Studies in the Southwestern United States
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsAustin, D, Wolf, B
Series TitleCLIMAS Report Series
Document NumberCL1-01
InstitutionClimate Assessment for the Southwest, University of Arizona
CityTucson, AZ

As long-time residents of North America, Native Americans have much experience with both climatic variation and strategies for coping with change. Native American tribes and tribal organizations are unique and important partners to those doing climate-related research and outreach, especially in the Southwest. Through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) project, climate-related issues of concern to Native Americans are being addressed. An initial report, Building Partnerships with Native Americans in Climate Related Research and Outreach (Austin et al. 2000), established a framework for carrying out climate impacts research with tribes. The research presented here documents institutional and organizational factors affecting fire management on tribal lands. Two case studies of fires occurring on tribal lands in Arizona provide insights into how these factors converged to influence the course of events. These case studies provide a foundation for considering more broadly the implications of climatic conditions and use (or potential use) of climate information for managing fire on tribal lands. In this light, this study considers historic as well as current conditions and events because these affect whether or not people are receptive to information, to planning, and to working together. This report is intended for a broad audience, including tribal, federal, and local policy makers, natural resource managers, and climate information specialists. Though it focuses on decision making within tribes and agencies responsible for tribal lands, its findings are relevant for other locations as well. This study was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Global Programs (NOAA-OGP) under Grant No. NA87GP0061.