Managing fire danger in the forests of the US inland Northwest: a classic ''wicked problem'' in public land policy
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): M. S. Carroll; K. A. Blatner; P. J. Cohn; T. Morgan
Publication Year: 2007

Cataloging Information

  • carbon
  • Cascades Range
  • climate change
  • coniferous forests
  • fire danger rating
  • fire frequency
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • fire suppression
  • forest management
  • Idaho
  • land management
  • liability
  • Montana
  • mosaic
  • Pinus contorta
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • private lands
  • Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • smoke management
  • thinning
  • thinning
  • Washington
  • wicked problems
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 46258
Tall Timbers Record Number: 21947
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals-J
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


In their classic article Allen and Gould (Allen, G.M., and E.M. Gould. 1986. Complexity, wickedness, and public forests. J. For. 84(4):20 -24) stated that the most daunting problems associated with public forest management had a ''wicked'' element: ''Wicked problems share characteristics. Each can be considered as simply a symptom of some higher order problem.... The definition is in the mind of the beholder.... Furthermore, there is no single correct formulation for a wicked problem, only more or less useful ones'' (p. 22). This description seems to fit the difficulties associated with managing the increasing risk of wildland fire in the United States. Using the Inland Northwest region of the United States as an example, we explore the dynamics of this issue as they relate to possible improvements and the inherent dilemmas. We conclude that any ''solutions'' to the problems associated with fire danger are best thought of in terms of long-term system improvements rather than short-term fixes. © 2007 by the Society of American Foresters. Abstract reproduced by permission.

Online Link(s):
Carroll, M. S., K. A. Blatner, P. J. Cohn, and T. Morgan. 2007. Managing fire danger in the forests of the US inland Northwest: a classic ''wicked problem'' in public land policy. Journal of Forestry, v. 105, no. 5, p. 239-244.