UCI News

Grant will fund anthropologist’s innovative study of fire prevention, mitigation methods

January 4, 2021
Grant will fund anthropologist’s innovative study of fire prevention, mitigation methods
Salvador Zarate, UCI assistant professor of anthropology, has received a $12,000 Haynes Foundation grant to study the strategies and practices employed by Orange County weed abatement crews. He calls them “a crucial fund of knowledge.” UCI

To help improve fire prevention policies, Salvador Zarate, UCI assistant professor of anthropology, will use a $12,000 faculty fellowship from the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation to document the practices of Orange County weed abatement crews. “We experienced our worst fire season ever this year, and we can tap into the deep ecological knowledge of these workers to better understand fire mitigation and prevention methods,” Zarate said. He will deploy alongside the workers this spring, conducting interviews, observing and documenting their strategies and practices, as they create firebreaks and clear debris as part of the first line of defense. “They are a crucial fund of knowledge, and their experience should be brought to the table when formulating future policy,” he said.