Special Issue "Reimagining the Future of Living and Working with Fire"

A special issue of Fire (ISSN 2571-6255). This special issue belongs to the section "Fire Social Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2023 | Viewed by 628

Special Issue Editors

Wonder Labs, San Jose, CA 95128, USA
Interests: social dimensions of disaster; care; equity; justice
Tree Ring Lab., Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
Interests: wildfire governance; community wildfire resilience; indigenous fire stewardship

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue aims to foreground the diverse perspectives and experiences of living and working with fire. The objective is to bring together novel future-thinking and future-ready practices on reimagining life and work with fire in ways that can achieve caring, equitable, sustainable, and just outcomes.

A key incentive for this Special Issue is to address the growing challenge of managing catastrophic wildfires, which is one of the manifold impacts of deteriorating forest health, the fuel management crisis, and persistent social inequities that are leading to increased exposure to wildfires. Although a range of strategies are being employed to address this worsening crisis, the effective implementation will be challenging without sustained support for a skilled and diverse landscape and fire management workforce.

Efforts are currently underway in the United States to increase the workforce capacity and address retention challenges, including by ensuring that the federal firefighting workforce has family-sustaining, career-track jobs with equitable pay and benefits.

However, there is a continuing need to fully recognize the diverse lived experiences of the landscape and fire management workforce. In formal management settings, these lived experiences can include hidden or invisible labor to address persisting inequities, such as navigating racial, cultural, gendered, ableist, and generational perspectives.

There is also a need to fully recognize the labor contributed by the informal workforce, often composed of local, Indigenous, or subsistence communities as well as seasonal or temporary workers, including students, migrants, and incarcerated workers, who remain largely uncounted and inadequately compensated for the demanding work they do. This informal workforce often faces additional challenges while operating in inequitable governance contexts where their knowledge and experience can be undervalued.

This Special Issue is particularly interested in worker-led and community-centered perspectives from different fire regions around the world, with the aim to better understand diverse fire management and governance practices that are reimagining land and fire stewardship in inclusive and just ways.

Submissions can be guided by (but are not limited to) the following set of questions:

  • What might be needed to enable a workforce-led and community-centered transition to living and working with fire in caring, just, sustainable, and equitable ways?
  • How can a future-ready workforce––formal and informal––experience care, safety, and wellbeing?
  • Who is performing essential agriculture, forestry, land management, and fire stewardship work but remains uncounted and/or undercompensated?
  • How can proactive wildfire management be scaled up by enabling more equitable forms of fire governance, including learning from and with Indigenous and local fire practitioners?
  • In what ways could the development of a future-ready workforce support whole-of-community wellbeing and living with fire in sustainable ways?

Please also see this recent Research Counts article, ‘Care, equity, and justice: Reimagining the forestry and fire workforce’, for further reflections on conducting research on a reimagined future with fire.

For this Special Issue, original research articles, review articles, concept papers, and case reports are invited. The research should be grounded in the social sciences but interdisciplinary collaborations that demonstrate a convergence of research methods and applications are encouraged. Submissions can be between 6000–12,000 words, including references.

Dr. Shefali Juneja Lakhina
Dr. Kelsey Copes-Gerbitz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Fire is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • care
  • diversity
  • equity
  • justice
  • inclusion
  • future-thinking
  • well-being
  • wildfires
  • workforce
  • labor/labour

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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