National, State and local governments in Australia are currently looking to integrate notions of community, social capital and community capacity building into a variety of policy areas, including bushfire preparedness and safety. This development is part of an international trend towards formally acknowledging the benefits of ‘strong communities’ and the importance of fostering links between communities and government institutions. As Marsh and Buckle (2001) note, however, the use of the term ‘community’, although widely established in the context of Australian wildfire and wildfire management, has often been used in different and conflicting ways. Linked with the volunteerist nature of these fire agencies, understanding what is meant by ‘community’ is an essential first step in developing a clearer conceptualisation to analyse current arrangements and determine what a community-focussed approach to bushfire management may mean and entail. This chapter provides an overview of the concepts of community, social capital and ‘community capacity building, including an outline of how the use of these terms is varied and contested. It presents insights into the limits of relying on notions of ‘community’ in policy. This step lays the foundations for the following chapters, which rest upon these understandings of community, connection and communication.