Research perspectives on the public and fire management: a synthesis of current social science on eight essential questions

View synthesis.

This synthesis reviewed existing scientific knowledge on the following questions:

  • What is the public’s understanding of fire’s role in the ecosystem?
  • Who are trusted sources of information about fire?
  • What are the public’s views of fuels reduction methods, and how do those views vary depending on citizens’ location in the wildland-urban interface or elsewhere?
  • What is the public’s understanding of smoke effects on human health, and what shapes the public’s tolerance for smoke?
  • What are homeowners’ views of their responsibilities for home and property protection and mitigation, e.g., defensible space measures?
  • What role does human health and safety play in the public’s perceptions of fire and fire management?
  • What are the public’s views on the role and importance of costs in wildfire incident response decisions?
  • To the extent that information is available, how do findings differ among ethnic and cultural groups, and across regions of the country?