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Managing wildfire disasters in the Rocky Mountains

Christopher Craig (The College of Business, Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky, USA)

Publication date: 22 March 2019

Issue publication date: 28 May 2019


Research methodology

The paper employs ethnographic interviews, a quantitative and qualitative data analysis of publicly accessible data and literature review.

Case overview/synopsis

With drought conditions expected to worsen in at-risk areas thus amplifying wildfire likelihood, this case explores the organizational and natural dynamics involved with wildfire management. The case engages students to explore the interactions between wildfire, wildland firefighters and agency organizations drawing from the natural resource dependence theory within a sustainability context. When completing the discussion questions, students are challenged to explore how organizations can use discursive closures to eliminate conflict and control meaning surrounding potentially controversial and politicized topics such as wildfire management.

Complexity academic level

This interdisciplinary case would be appropriate for undergraduate and graduate students in business and STEM classes. Optimal classes include organizational behavior, organizational communication and sustainability. Other appropriate classes include strategic management, applied business decisions, public relations, public policy, crisis management and for corporate training purposes.



The author would like to thank Greg Junghans, a graduate of the Montana State University Billings College of Business in Management, for providing the example student response to discussion question 1. The author would like to acknowledge the funding from National Science Foundation Nos 1726834, 1726278 and 1726843.

Disclaimer: this case is written solely for educational purposes and is not intended to represent successful or unsuccessful managerial decision making. The author/s may have disguised names; financial and other recognizable information to protect confidentiality.


Craig, C. (2019), "Managing wildfire disasters in the Rocky Mountains", , Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 78-87.



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