Public Response to Fire Management: Conventional Wisdom vs. Reality

Having an accurate understanding of social dynamics is critical to improving forest health and decreasing wildfire risk. However, many of the descriptions about the public's relationship with wildfire are based on conventional wisdoms that may or may not be accurate. This presentation will summarize findings from over 60 fire social science studies with particular emphasis on the accuracy of various accepted truths about the public and fire management. It will also discuss the variables that actually influence approval of different fire management practices and what has been learned about how to most effectively foster changes in behavior and social norms.

Sarah McCaffrey, Ph.D. is a Research Forester for the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Her research focuses on the social aspects of fire management. This work has included projects examining wildfire risk perception, social acceptability of prescribed fire and thinning, characteristics of effective communication programs, and incentives for creation and maintenance of defensible space. She has also initiated work examining social issues that occur during and after fires including evacuation decision making, agency-community interaction during fires, and long-term health impacts of experiencing a fire. She received her Ph.D. in Wildland Resource Science in 2002 from the University of California at Berkeley.

Sarah will also be presenting on Wednesday, February 22 at 5:30 at Carbondale's Third Street Center.

Tea, donated by Two Leaves and A Bud and cookies will be offered at both events.

Naturalist Nights are brought to you through a partnership between Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Wilderness Workshop, and Roaring Fork Audubon.


Thanks to our 2017 community sponsors for making it possible to film the Naturalist Nights series. Watch past presentations on our YouTube channel, here.







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