Public Perspectives of Fire Management
Smoke & Air Quality
Smoke & Populations
Smoke from forest fires is a serious and increasing land management concern. However, a paucity of information exists that is specific to public perceptions of smoke. This study used conjoint analysis, a multivariate technique, to evaluate how four situational factors (i.e., smoke origin, smoke duration, health impact, and advanced warning) influence public tolerance of smoke in the northern Rocky Mountains and south-central United States. Separate analyses were performed for subgroups, based on community type, level of fire preparedness, demographics, and smoke experience, to explore potential differences among managerially relevant populations. Origin of the smoke and advanced public warning were commonly the most important factors influencing public tolerance of smoke. A comparison of our conjoint approach with a univariate rating technique is also discussed. Findings from this research will help fire managers understand public tolerance of smoke from forest fires, inform forest management, and enhance public communication strategies.