A JFSP Fire Science Exchange Network
Bringing People Together & Sharing Knowledge in the Northern Rockies

Current research on public perceptions of smoke from wildland and prescribed fire to inform communication and outreach

Date: September 20, 2012
Presenter(s): Christine Olsen, Troy E. Hall, Jarod Blades, Eric Toman

This webinar covered two large, multi-region studies of public perceptions of smoke from wildland and prescribed fire funded by the JFSP. A mail/internet survey conducted by the University of Idaho investigated perceptions of urban and rural residents in the northern Rocky Mountains and south-central U.S. Research investigated factors contributing to tolerance of smoke, including past experience, risk perception, feelings of control, advanced public warning, potential health and property impacts, and awareness of the benefits of wildland and prescribed fire for ecosystems. Support for management was found to be a function of beliefs about prescribed fire benefits, perceived vulnerability to smoke impacts, agency trust, and exposure to information about fire and smoke. Research conducted by Oregon State University and The Ohio State University used interviews in four regions (central coast South Carolina, south-central Oregon, northwestern Montana, and north-central California) to identify factors that contribute to tolerance of smoke and the importance of communication. Subsequent mail/internet surveys sent to citizens in the same communities investigated perceptions of fuel treatment strategies and tolerance of smoke, sources of information about smoke, trust in agencies that manage fire and smoke, and origins of smoke. Origin of smoke was found to be a significant factor in tolerance for smoke. The most useful sources of information regarding smoke appear to be more personal or interactive sources of communication along with websites. The webinar will review key findings from both studies, emphasizing the important points related to public outreach and communication. Panelists include Christine Olsen (Oregon St), Troy Hall (U of Idaho), Jarod Blades (U of Idaho) and Eric Toman (Ohio State University). This webinar was hosted by the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned, the Joint Fire Science Program, and the International Association of Wildland Fire. It originally aired on September 20, 2012. 

Topic(s): Fire Communication & Education, Public Perspectives of Fire Management, Smoke & Air Quality, Smoke & Populations
Ecosystem(s): None
Type: Webinar
NRFSN number: 12817
FRAMES RCS number: 13923
Record updated: Sep 8, 2020