Assess Your Needs

Who do you need at the table to help with recovery? Assessing your needs is an important step in mobilizing your community. The community's Post Fire Coordinator should identify the tasks needed in a post wildfire situation (a ‘needs assessment’). The Post Fire Coordinator should then build a community team of support to carry out the identified tasks (this team is different from government emergency response teams that come up elsewhere in this guide). Answering the following questions can help you identify appropriate individuals for your team.

  • Is there paid staff available to help after a wildfire?Courtesy of the US Forest Service.
  • Who knows the Incident Command System (ICS)?
  • Who has technical and engineering skills to assist with on-the-ground rehabilitation?
  • Who has writing skills to prepare grant proposals and to submit documents required to apply for assistance?
  • Should your community (or individuals) raise fund from private donations to fill the gaps of the help provided?
  • Who are the administrators that can handle grants and attend funding-related meetings?
  • Who has accounting skills? Meticulous bookkeeping is critical!
  • Who can assist a community with immediate shelter, food and medication needs?
  • Who can provide emotional support and counseling?
  • Who has mapping (Geographic Information Systems) skills?
  • Who has local knowledge of the landscape and any pre-existing issues such as eroded areas?
  • What are key values that are at risk after a wildfire, and can something be done to protect these? Refer to our flooding and post-fire treatments sections of the website.
  • Who can help neighbors with clean up, building fences, etc? For example, there may be elderly people who can not do it themselves, or neighbors who have so much to do it is overwhelming.
  • Who has knowledge of the local land tenure? This may be especially important for Tribes and Pueblos, or for Land Grant communities.
  • Determine if you are going to use volunteers for any of the above tasks. If so, you will need someone to recruit and manage volunteers. For tips on working with volunteers, click here.
  • To get you started on who might help fill these needs, visit the Who Can Help section.
Mobilizing Your Community