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PTK HIA 2021: Wildfires

Resources for students researching wildfires as part of the PTK 2021 Honors in Action (HIA) Project

General Research Tip - Keywords Matter!

Whether you're googling or searching in a library database, the words you type in--aka your keywords--matter because they determine what results you get. Here's a partial list of keywords that may be useful in researching Wildfires:

  • wildfires
  • forest fires
  • bushfires (there's a fair amount of research out there on Australian wildfires)
  • fire management
  • fire ecology
  • fire suppression
  • prescribed burns
  • forestry


Two reasons to start your research by reading encyclopedia articles:

  • to help you get a broader overview of a topic so that you can better understand the history and/or context of your topic
  • Many encyclopedia articles (including those from Wikipedia) include a list of references/works cited. This can be a good way to find other sources for further reading/research on your topic.


Two good reasons to consider books in your research:

  • They often provide in-depth coverage on a topic.
  • They can give you good background, history, or provide a thorough analysis of a topic.


If you want more info on LAVC ebooks, including tech tips for reading them online, see this comprehensive guide to ebooks:

News Sources

Two reasons to consider news articles in your research:

  • News articles can give you an understanding about how an event was understood while it was happening, or just after. 
  • Because reporters interview participants in an event (firefighters, fire-victims) news articles can help you understand the perspective of people who were direct witnesses to or participants in a fire or other event.

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

A few things to understand about using peer-reviewed journal articles in your research:

  • Peer-reviewed journal articles (also known as Scholarly / Academic  journal articles) are written by scholars (college professors, researchers) for an audience of other scholars in their same subject area (environmental science, economics, history, etc.)
  • They are an important research resource because they can help you understand where your argument/research fits in relation to existing research.
  • They are not generally a good resource for getting a broad overview of a topic.
  • Peer-reviewed journal articles report on or demonstrate the results/conclusions of original research done by scholars.
  • They can be long, complex, and full of jargon so it is very common to need to re-read them in order to make sense of them. 

Data & Statistics

Who Managed the Fire?

An important piece of information when researching a fire and the response to it is which agency (federal/state/local) is in charge of managing the fire. This is generally determined by who owns the land that is burning, but Cal Fire's Incident Map is a quick way to find this out for current and historical fires.

Recent CA Legislation

Guidance from the PTK Mothership

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