Youth as change agents in wildfire preparedness

Youth focus groups

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.

2018 report

The "Youth as Change Agents in Wildfire Preparedness" report presents findings from surveys and focus groups conducted between June 2017 and April 2018 in wildfire-prone states with the ultimate purpose of guiding the development of a teen outreach strategy for NFPA. NFPA’s Wildfire Division originally explored wildfire safety education for middle and high school students after discovering that, while this demographic is underserved by information and resources, teens did have the interest and desire to take steps to protect themselves and their families. Students in this age group can make many of their own decisions about safety actions and can become agents of change in their communities.

  • Download the report. (PDF)
  • Infographic (PDF) - Youth survey signals lack of wildfire preparedness and need for multi-source information sharing
  • Infographic (PDF) - Teens tell NFPA what they know and how they want to grow 

Contact us: Let us know how your community is working with youth.

Past report

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.

Teacher questionnaire

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.