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The homeowner view of thinning methods for fire hazard reduction: more positive than many think

Author(s): Sarah M. McCaffrey
Year Published: 2008
Description:

With the focus of the National Fire Plan on decreasing fire risk in the wildland-urban interface, fire managers are increasingly tasked with reducing the fuel load in areas where mixed public and private ownership and a growing number of homes can make most fuel reduction methods problematic at best. In many of these intermix areas, use of prescribed burning will be difficult, and it is likely that thinning will be the dominant method for fuel load reduction. Yet little research has been done on acceptability of different thinning methods, and the current understanding is based primarily on accepted conventional wisdom. A limited number of surveys found that two-thirds of respondents thought thinning in general an acceptable fire management tool, but they did not examine differences in acceptability of specific practices. However, understanding what homeowners think about particular methods, and what is associated with more supportive views, can provide critical assistance to managers as they develop fuel hazard reduction plans. A survey of homeowners in Incline Village, Nevada found that support for most thinning methods, except herbicide use, was quite high, but varied across respondents. Factors associated with acceptability of specific methods include perception of fire risk, previous direct and indirect wildfire experience, perception of the role of various agencies in fire planning, and age. Individual responses also appeared to be influenced by the local character of the environment around Incline Village, particularly the desire to protect the water clarity of Lake Tahoe.

Citation: McCaffrey, Sarah. 2008. The homeowner view of thinning methods for fire hazard reduction: more positive than many think. In: Narog, Marcia G., tech. coord. Managing fire and fuels in the remaining wildlands and open spaces of the Southwestern United States, conference proceedings. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-189. Albany, CA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. p. 15-22.
Topic(s): Fire Communication & Education, Public Perspectives of Fire Management, Fuels, Fuel Treatments & Effects, Wildland Urban Interface
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Conference Proceedings, Technical Report or White Paper
NRFSN number: 11486
FRAMES RCS number: 12905
Record updated: Sep 8, 2020