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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): S. T. Asah
Publication Date: October 2014

Researchers exploring the challenges of public intolerance for forest fires in the US predominantly focus on non-managers. Forest fire managers have unique perspectives on public perceptions and attitudes towards forest fires because managers frequently interact directly with the public and are the face of the institutions that prescribe fire management practices to which the public reacts. Therefore, managers' perspectives deserve more empirical attention. Additionally, a recent review of social science research on wildfire management suggested a need for better understanding of the organizational dimensions of forest fire management. For this study, interviews were used to explore how fire management professionals understand and explain public attitudes towards forest fires and smoke. Interviewees suggested that community-forest dependence and community-agency interactions shape public perceptions and attitudes. Interviewees elaborated on how professionals' personality and perceived organizational obstruction undermine community-agency interactions, provoke unfavourable attitudes towards the agency and fire management practices and ultimately, interfere with the accomplishment of fire management objectives. These findings suggest that, to better understand and more effectively manage public attitudes towards forest fires, we need to pay due attention to the occupational and organizational psychology of fire management professionals and institutions. Organizational ambidexterity, the inward looking process necessary for organizational effectiveness, could enhance community-agency relations, favourable attitudes towards forest fires and achievement of fire management objectives. © Institute of Chartered Foresters, 2014. All rights reserved.

Citation: Asah, S. T. 2014. Professionals' perspectives: exploring the occupational and organizational psychology of community-agency interactions in forest fire management. Forestry, v. 87, no. 4, p. 552-561. 10.1093/forestry/cpu013.

Cataloging Information

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  • education
  • fire management
  • forest management
  • public information
  • wildfires
Tall Timbers Record Number: 29930Location Status: Not in fileCall Number: AvailableAbstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission
Record Last Modified:
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 52751

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by Tall Timbers 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 Tall Timbers.