There is evidence that forest resiliency is declining in the western US due to recent increases in both areas burned by wildfire and the number of large fires. Fire refugia may increase forest resiliency; however, for land managers to incorporate fire refugia into their management plans, methods need to be developed to identify and rank criteria for what make fire refugia important. As part of a larger effort to build a spatially explicit ranking model for unburned islands in the inland northwestern US, we investigated the perceived importance of criteria used to inform a ranking model to identify high-value fire refugia. We developed a survey targeting land managers within the inland northwestern US. Participants were asked to score a predetermined list of criteria by their importance for determining the value of fire refugia. These scores were analyzed to identify trends among respondents that could be used to develop a fire refugia ranking model. The results indicate that respondents generally organized criteria into two groups: Human infrastructure and wildlife habitat. However, there was little consensus among respondents in their scoring of fire refugia importance criteria, suggesting that a single region-wide fire refugia ranking model may not be feasible. More research with a larger sample size is needed to develop targeted ranking models.
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