More than 8 million students in grades six through twelve live in a U.S. wildland/urban interface community with a potential wildfire risk. They represent a resource that could be a valuable conduit in bringing wildfire mitigation information into their homes and be participants in actions that can reduce the overall risk.
In 2012, NFPA took a look at what types of wildland fire education programs exist for this demographic and explores why they have remained a relatively untapped audience. The Engaging Youth in Reducing Wildfire Risk – Community Conversation Workshop Findings and Research report includes published research and conversations with students and parents recently impacted by a wildfire.
In October 2012, a ten-question questionnaire was distributed to 509 middle and high school teachers in areas that had experienced a wildfire during the previous year. The cities included Bastrop, TX; Larimer County, CO; Conifer, CO; and Colorado Springs, CO. Thirty-nine responses were received.
The questions were developed to gauge the resources teachers used (PDF) following the fire in their community, who they looked to as a resource for wildland fire educational information, if they incorporated wildfire related information into their lesson plans, and the best places for students to receive wildland fire information.