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RMRS-GTR-260: A qualitative and quantitative analysis of risk perception and treatment options as related to wildfires in the USDA FS Region 3 National Forests


Martin, Ingrid M.; Martin, Wade E.; Raish, Carol B. 2011. A qualitative and quantitative analysis of risk perception and treatment options as related to wildfires in the USDA FS Region 3 National Forests. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-260. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 57 p.

As the incidence of devastating fires rises, managing the risk posed by these fires has become critical. This report provides important information to examine the ways that different groups or disaster subcultures develop the mentalities or perceived realities that affect their views and responses concerning risk and disaster preparedness. Fire risk beliefs and attitudes of individuals and groups from four geographic areas in the Southwest (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Region 3, Arizona and New Mexico) surrounding the Kaibab, Tonto, Santa Fe, and Lincoln National Forests are presented. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, we collected information from three distinct groups: general public, informed lay public, and local experts. In addition, personal interviews were conducted with a group of policy experts in the science of wildfires and climate change. A primary finding indicates that all of the groups that we interviewed expressed a strong desire for land managers to manage the public lands proactively in order to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire. However, respondents expressed different preferences regarding the management approach that should be used. One important observation was that respondents in each of the three distinct respondent groups prioritized their preferred means of communication differently.

Keywords: wildfire, risk perceptions, risk communication, risk mitigation, disaster subcultures, attitudes, beliefs, prescribed fire


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Title: RMRS-GTR-260: A qualitative and quantitative analysis of risk perception and treatment options as related to wildfires in the USDA FS Region 3 National Forests
Electronic Publish Date: September 15, 2011
Expires: Indefinite
Last Update:
September 15, 2011

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