Public Perspectives of Fire Management
As fire management agencies seek to implement more flexible fire management strategies, local understanding and support for these strategies become increasingly important. One issue associated with implementing more flexible fire management strategies is educating local populations about fire management and identifying what local populations know or do not know related to fire management. This study used survey data from three 2010 wildland fires to understand how ecological knowledge and education level affected fire management perception and understanding. Results indicated that increased accuracy in identifying ecological conditions was associated with higher proficiencies in the identification of fire management strategies used for wildfires. Education levels were not significantly related to public perception of fire management but were related to significant differences in accurately identifying ecological conditions. Results suggest that education may play a mediating role in understanding complex wildfire issues but is not associated with a better understanding of fire management.