Constructing and justifying risk and accountability after extreme events: public administration and stakeholders' responses to a wildfire disaster

Johanna Johansson, Rolf Lidskog
2020 Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning  
The impacts of extreme weather events, causing severe storms and wildfires, cascade across administrative borders within a country, challenging the steering capacity of governance networks at different political scales. This paper examines how accountability and risk were constructed and negotiated in the aftermath of Sweden's largest wildfire. It draws on results from an interview study with executives of organizations and landowners involved, and an analysis of government reports about the
more » ... eports about the wildfire's cause and consequences. Although the fire was human-caused, public administrative bodies paid considerable attention to the local emergency services and their poor handling of the wildfire, caused by lack of knowledge of forest fire behavior. The study confirms many of the challenges associated with governance networks. It finds that issues about who to hold accountable, in what forum and for what issue are not fully addressed, being overwhelmed by demands for better knowledge of forest fire prevention and improved coordination and collaboration. To conclude, the paper calls for a betterinformed public administration, forest sector and interrelated networks that take responsibility for their actions or lack thereof. ARTICLE HISTORY
doi:10.1080/1523908x.2020.1740656 fatcat:6xvdyzxg3ndnpalvn6vkgtn534