Understanding and Assessing Impacts
It is common to find community volunteers at the core of successful disaster risk reduction initiatives. Volunteer efforts frequently have a significant direct impact on the protection of lives and enhance the safety of properties in the community. While community volunteers have always played crucial roles in disaster response and recovery, their participation in pre-disaster preparedness is often less frequently recognized as crucial to building disaster-resilient communities. Research has shown that when communities are empowered to manage the adverse effects of local natural hazards, they are more likely to sustainably and effectively address natural disaster risks. Napatak is a small community of approximately 150 permanent residents located in a mature boreal forest on the southwest shore of La Ronge Lake. It is situated approximately 30km South of the Town of La Ronge in Northern Saskatchewan and can only be reached through one access road. Napatak has experienced potentially threatening wildfire situations several times over the years, including one in 1999 during the Mallard Fire and more recently in 2015 when wildfires forced the evacuation of 13,000 residents in the La Ronge area. Wildfire risk became a growing concern for residents of the community who have since showcased great leadership in pursuing various wildfire risk reduction initiatives.