Decisionmaking & Sensemaking
Background: Virtually every decision within wildland fire management includes substantial ethical dimensions. As pressures increase with ever-growing fires, it is becoming increasingly important to develop tools for assessing and acting on the values intrinsic to wildfire management.
Aims: This paper aims to foster an applied ethics of wildland fire by bringing values to the forefront of wildland fire management debates, highlighting areas where ethical issues have been previously discussed, and providing a framework to assist in future discussion.
Methods: Through a literature review and collaborative thematic coding of a large set of ethical dilemmas, a list of ethical lenses was developed.
Key results: Five ethical lenses were generated from the thematic coding process: Epistemologies and Representation, Values and Priorities, Risk and Uncertainty, Power, and Metaethics.
Conclusion: The five lenses provide a framework to identify prospective ethical tensions in wildland fire decision-making, both within and cutting across categories. This framework provides a way of structuring future investigations into wildfire ethics, as well as a starting point for developing techniques to integrate community and stakeholder values.
Implications: Developing a field of applied ethics for wildland fire will help support decision-making, create space to more inclusively reflect and deliberate on values, and ensure that fire management best serves the public interest.