Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Resource Conservation

Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

James Burchfield

Commitee Members

Jill Belsky, Neva Hassanein


hazard fuel mitigation, mountain pine beetle, wildland fire, wildland urban interface


University of Montana


The objective of this research was to document and to analyze private property owner reasons and justifications for implementing, or not, the fire prevention effort of hazard fuel mitigation. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 42 property owners in the forest proximate community of Seeley Lake, Montana. Using an interpretive approach and grounded theory methodology, the content analyses of transcribed interviews was completed for the purpose of capturing the variations in WUI property owner behaviors and viewpoints on hazard fuel mitigation. The property owners provided diverse reasons and nuanced justifications for their decisions. Hazard fuel mitigation was often undertaken for incentives outside of risk reduction and the protection of property from a future wildland fire. These incentives included enhancing the aesthetic appearance to a property and dealing with general hazards from a mountain pine beetle infestation. In relation to hazard fuel mitigation, property owners spoke about values that included personal responsibility and stewardship. The property owners who did not implement hazard fuel mitigation can be divided into two categories. There were individuals who wanted to undertake mitigation but barriers - physical ability, time, and costs - prohibited participation. Other individuals did not want to engage in hazard fuel mitigation. Since for them, altering the existing vegetation provided little protection in the event of wildland fire and treatments would lead to unwanted outcomes including a loss of privacy and a change in appearance to their forested property.



© Copyright 2012 Jennifer Ann Martynuik