Effective communication about wildfire management: Observations from 20 years of fire social science research
Presenter: Sarah McCaffrey
Description: Fire management in the United States is currently facing numerous challenges. While many of these challenges involve questions about how to increase pace and scale of fuels treatments and adapt to longer, sometimes year-round, fire seasons and more frequent extreme fires, there is also a need to adapt wildfire communication efforts to changing fire management needs and practices. This presentation will discuss insights from two decades of fire social science research about a range of topics to consider in improving wildfire communication including issues with conflation of language (prevention is not mitigation), when more rather than less complex explanations may be merited, and the need to account for how fire fits in everyday lives. The presentation will draw from general Communication, Natural Hazards, and Risk Communication theory, as well as specific fire social science research findings, about topics and approaches that are more or less likely to resonate with the public.