Smoke & Populations
In the last few decades, the number of people living in fire-prone ecosystems has increased, placing more people and private property at risk to future fire events. Substantial research has demonstrated consistent public support for the use of prescribed fires in fuel-reduction efforts; however, continuing public concern regarding smoke emissions and negative air quality impacts exists. To date, limited research has specifically examined public attitudes toward smoke emissions. In this study, we use a mail-back or internet survey to assess citizen information seeking behaviors regarding smoke emissions in four communities in high fire risk areas. Path analysis was used to apply the risk information seeking and processing (RISP) model to examine factors that motivate people to seek information relevant to smoke emissions. We find that residents were concerned about smoke emissions and believed that they needed more information. Residents’ intentions to seek information were influenced by information (in)sufficiency, the number of sources used, and smoke acceptability, among other factors. Findings suggest that currently available information resources on smoke may not be sufficient to meet residents’ information needs, particularly for those most motivated to learn more about emissions.