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Public acceptance of wildland fire and fuel management: panel responses in seven locations

Author(s): Eric L. Toman, Bruce A. Shindler, Sarah M. McCaffrey, James Bennett
Year Published: 2014
Description:

Wildland fire affects both public and private resources throughout the United States. A century of fire suppression has contributed to changing ecological conditions and accumulated fuel loads. Managers have used a variety of approaches to address these conditions and reduce the likelihood of wildland fires that may result in adverse ecological impacts and threaten communities. Public acceptance is a critical component of developing and implementing successful management programs. This study examines the factors that influence citizen support for agency fuel reduction treatments over time-particularly prescribed fire and mechanical vegetation removal. This paper presents findings from a longitudinal study examining resident beliefs and attitudes regarding fire management and fuels treatments in seven states: Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The study was implemented in two phases over a 6-year period using mail surveys to residents of communities adjacent to federal lands in each location. Questions replicated measures from the original project as well as some new items to allow a more in-depth analysis of key concepts. The study design enables comparisons over time as well as between locations. We also assess the factors that influence acceptance of both prescribed fire and mechanical vegetation removal. Findings demonstrate a relative stability of attitudes toward fuels management approaches over time and suggest that this acceptance is strongly influenced by confidence in resource managers and beliefs that the treatments would result in positive outcomes.

Citation: Toman, Eric L.; Shindler, Bruce A.; McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Bennett, James. 2014. Public acceptance of wildland fire and fuel management: panel responses in seven locations. Environmental Management 54(3):557-570.
Topic(s): Fuels, Fuel Treatments & Effects, Prescribed Fire-use treatments, Wildland Urban Interface
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 21917
FRAMES RCS number: 17849
Record updated: Sep 16, 2020