Human Dimensions of Fire
This guide provides information about stakeholder groups to assist managers as they deal with issues facing these systems. The guide was created for land managers to consult as they plan and carry out projects, particularly on public land where groups often have conflicting interests.
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?
For this study, researchers traveled to two fires—the Gap in California and Gunbarrel in Wyoming—each of which used a different strategy for managing the fire. At each site, they interviewed key agency individuals and asked them about internal and external factors that influenced their fire management decisions. We also interviewed community members to understand whether they sought to influence fire management. Findings did not wholly support conventional wisdom and suggest that internal pressures are as important as external pressure in shaping fire management strategy.
This report provides examples of working partnerships can be found in a wide-range of management settings. There is no single formula for building a partnership and partnerships per se are not a panacea; however, through extensive research, we have found a set of characteristics that are common to most partnership success stories. They are described in this guide to be used as a practical reference for agency personnel and citizens who seek to improve collaborative efforts in local communities.