Sponsored by the Southwest Fire Science Consortium
Presented by Stacey Frederick, Coordinator, California Fire Science Consortium
The importance of smoke has been well-observed by managers through frequent concerns expressed over smoke. Public perceptions of fuel reduction techniques, with a particular emphasis on using prescribed fire as a management tool, have been under study for almost a decade. However, research on public opinions regarding smoke from these wildfires, fuel reduction fires, and private-use fires is more limited.
The Joint Fire Science Program funded a multi-year, multi-stage project that examined the interaction of public perceptions and communication programs on fire smoke and land management. The project was completed in three distinct phases with data collected in four study locations. Methods included interviews, mail-surveys, and focus groups.
Overall, the project used a case-study approach to examine what influenced smoke perceptions and to experiment with possible communication strategies. Key findings regarding smoke perceptions include the influence of the source of fire smoke, the perceived trade-offs of risk vs. benefits from smoke, and how respondents view smoke and fuel reduction activities. Observations on communication strategies and suggestions for future interactions with both the public and within agencies will also be discussed during the webinar.