Social science research is used to support the formulation of natural resource management decisions with accurate and timely information. Due to risk and potential impacts, this is important in wildland fire management. The purpose of this paper is to identify the respondent perceptions of a natural disturbance agent's impact on fire management in Colorado and Wyoming.
The research methodology included a self-administered questionnaire completed by a random sample of respondents in three study locations adjacent to national forests. A quantitative analysis was conducted to identify attitudes about fuels management (prescribed fire) and beliefs about fire and fire management.
Respondents viewed prescribed fire favorably and they understand the natural role of fire on the landscape. While results suggest respondents support management of forest conditions to decrease the effects of a wildfire, they do not feel that individuals have a right to expect their home to be protected from fire by land managers, nor do they agree with restricting home building near national forest land.
Future research should continue the longitudinal assessment of attitudes toward prescribed fires, incorporating respondent distance to the national forest or identifying respondents living within the wildland-urban interface.
This paper illustrates how applied, social science research can meet the needs of agencies and public officials. Results of this paper have been presented to state and federal forestry officials, and members of an executive-level task force in Colorado studying wildfire insurance and forest health.
The authors would like to acknowledge the funding support provided by the Colorado State Forest Service and the US Forest Service.
Czaja, M. and P. Cottrell, S. (2014), "Integrating social science research into wildland fire management", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 381-394. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-10-2013-0193Download as .RIS
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