Wildfire is a natural part of forested Mediterranean systems. As humans continue to live and build housing in these areas, wildfire is a constant threat to homes and lives. The goal of this paper is to describe aspects of land-use planning that are used to reduce wildfire risk in institutionally divergent regions; southern France and California. By reviewing relevant legislation and planning documents and conducting in person interviews with fire and planning professionals, we identify the institutions which participate in land use planning to reduce fire risk and the key laws and regulations that guide planning decisions. Our results indicate that France has a more centralized system for planning for fire, with national level entities heavily involved in local land use planning. California, on the other hand sees almost no federal oversite, and, while state law requires local plans to include wildfire risk, most fine grain decisions are left to local planners and decision makers. In both regions, however, we see a reliance on technical support provided from outside local jurisdictions. Increased coordination between local, regional, and national governments could improve land use planning in both locations.
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