Sarah M. McCaffrey
240 West Prospect Road
Contact Sarah M. McCaffrey
Her current research focuses on broader social pieces of the fire management system including how stakeholders conceive of becoming a fire adapted community and barriers to increased use of fire as a management tool, both prescribed fire and managing wildfires for resource benefits. She has also begun work with a colleague to assess how social media can provide insight into various aspects of fire management, including whether tweets related to wildfire smoke can serve as reasonable proxy for air quality and how media portrayal of fire management varies overtime and between coutnires (US, Canada and Australia).
Madsen, Rachel S.; Haynes, Hylton J. G.; McCaffrey, Sarah M. 2018. Wildfire risk reduction in the United States: Leadership staff perceptions of local fire department roles and responsibilities. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. 27: 451-458.
Sachdeva, Sonja; McCaffrey, Sarah. 2018. Using social media to predict air pollution during California wildfires. In: Proceedings of the international conference on social media and society; 2018 July 18-20; Copenhagen, Denmark. SM Society. 5 p. https://doi.org/10.1145/3217804.3217946.
Dr. McCaffrey's research focuses on understanding a wide range of the social aspects of fire management. A particular emphasis of her research is working with managers to: 1) identify areas where existing research could provide insight as well as where more research is needed, and 2) synthesizing and communicating relevant research findings.
Past research has included projects examining wildfire risk perception, incentives for creation and maintenance of defensible space, social acceptability of prescribed fire and thinning, and characteristics of effective communication efforts. She hasalso initiated work examining social issues that occur during and after fires including evacuation decision making, agency-community interaction during fires, and long-term health impacts of experiencing a fire. This has included work interviewing emergency responders and residents after wildfires in the U.S. as well as work in Australia where I assisted the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre with their post-fire data collection following the February 7th 2009 bushfires. Her PhD research examined homeowner beliefs and actions in relation to defensible space and fuels management in Incline Village, Nevada.
McCaffrey, Sarah; Wilson, Robyn; Konar, Avishek. 2017. Should I stay or should I go now? Or should I wait and see? Influences on wildfire evacuation decisions. Risk Analysis. doi: 10.1111/risa.12944.
McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Olsen, Christine S. 2012. Research perspectives on the public and fire management: a synthesis of current social science on eight essential questions. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-104. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 40 p.
McCaffrey, Sarah; Stidham, Melanie; Toman, Eric; Shindler, Bruce. 2011. Outreach programs, peer pressure, and common sense: What motivates homeowners to mitigate wildfire risk. Environmental Management. 48(3): 475-488.
Why This Research is Important
Social dynamics are a critical part of fire management. No matter how ecologically and technically sound and well planned a management activity, its ultimate effectiveness will be highly dependant on social factors related to the effort including acceptance of the activity and its potential effect on a range of social values. As the societal impacts of wildfires grow, the active involvement of all stakeholders in fire management will be central to successful efforts to reduce the risk. Understanding relevant beliefs and expectations, of the landscape and of land management agencies, will be crucial information for managers in developing effective plans to mitigate the fire risk . In addition, understanding how internal organizational factors interact with the external social factors will be critical to improving outcomes. Dr. McCaffrey's research helps clarify the reality behind much of the conventional wisdom about social dynamics in relation to fire and fuels management and what shapes those beliefs and actions: a clear and accurate conception of social dynamics can help ensure that management efforts are targeted on activities more likely to improve future outcomes.
- University Of California--Berkeley, Ph.D. Wildland Resource Science 2002
- University Of California--Berkeley, M.S. Wildland Resource Science 1995
- Stanford University, B.A. International Relations 1986
- International Association of Wildland Fire
Awards & Recognition
- Outstanding Editor Award. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 2017
Featured Publications & Products
- McCaffrey, Sarah; Wilson, Robyn; Konar, Avishek. 2017. Should I stay or should I go now Or should I wait and see Influences on wildfire evacuation decisions.
- McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Olsen, Christine S. 2012. Research perspectives on the public and fire management: a synthesis of current social science on eight essential questions.
- McCaffrey, Sarah. 2015. Community wildfire preparedness: a global state-of-the-knowledge summary of social science research.
- Steelman, Toddi A.; McCaffrey, Sarah. 2013. Best practices in risk and crisis communication: Implications for natural hazards management.
- McCaffrey, Sarah; Rhodes, Alan; Stidham, Melanie. 2015. Wildfire evacuation and its alternatives: perspectives from four United States' communities.
- Stidham, Melanie; McCaffrey, Sarah; Toman, Eric; Shindler, Bruce. 2014. Policy tools to encourage community-level defensible space in the United States: A tale of six communities.
- Madsen, Rachel S.; Haynes, Hylton J. G.; McCaffrey, Sarah M. 2018. Wildfire risk reduction in the United States: Leadership staff perceptions of local fire department roles and responsibilities.
- McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Velez, Anne-Lise Knox; Briefel, Jason Alexander. 2013. Difference in information needs for wildfire evacuees and non-evacuees.
- Steelman, Toddi A.; McCaffrey, Sarah M. 2011. What is limiting more flexible fire management—public or agency pressure.
- McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Stidham, Melanie; Toman, Eric; Shindler, Bruce. 2011. Outreach programs, peer pressure, and common sense: What motivates homeowners to mitigate wildfire risk.
- Tedim, Fantina ; Leone, Vittorio ; Amraoui, Malik ; Bouillon, Christophe ; Coughlan, Michael R.; Delogu, Giuseppe M.; Fernandes, Paulo M.; Ferreira, Carmen ; McCaffrey, Sarah ; McGee, Tara K.; Parente, Joana ; Paton, Douglas ; Pereira, Mario G.; Ribeiro, Luís M.; Viegas, Domingos X.; Xanthopoulos, Gavriil . 2018. Defining extreme wildfire events: Difficulties, challenges, and impacts.
- McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Duffner, Guy L.; Decker, Lynn M. 2018. Social dynamics of wildland fire in California Chapter 27.
- Sachdeva, Sonja ; McCaffrey, Sarah . 2018. Using social media to predict air pollution during California wildfires.
- Wilson, Robyn S.; McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Toman, Eric. 2017. Wildfire communication and climate risk mitigation.
- McGee, Tara K.; Curtis, Allan; McFarlane, Bonita L.; Shindler, Bruce; Christianson, Amy; Olsen, Christine; McCaffrey, Sarah M. 2016. Facilitating knowledge transfer between researchers and wildfire practitioners about trust: An international case study.
- Sachdeva, Sonya; McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Locke, Dexter. 2016. Social media approaches to modeling wildfire smoke dispersion: spatiotemporal and social scientific investigations.
- Butler, William H.; Monroe, Ashley; McCaffrey, Sarah. 2015. Collaborative implementation for ecological restoration on US public lands: implications for legal context, accountability, and adaptive management.
- McCaffrey, Sarah; Toman, Eric; Stidham, Melanie; Shindler, Bruce. 2015. Social science findings in the United States.
- Steelman, Toddi A.; McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Velez, Anne-Lise Knox; Briefel, Jason Alexander. 2015. What information do people use, trust, and find useful during a disaster Evidence from five large wildfires.
- Toman, Eric; Hix, David M.; Goebel, P. Charles; Gehrt, Stanley D.; Wilson, Robyn S.; Sherry, Jennifer A.; Silvis, Alexander; Nyamai, Priscilla; Williams, Roger A.; McCaffrey, Sarah. 2014. Hazardous fuels management in mixed red pine and eastern white pine forest in the northern Lake States: A synthesis of knowledge.
- Toman, Eric; Shindler, Bruce; McCaffrey, Sarah; Bennett, James. 2014. Public acceptance of wildland fire and fuel management: Panel responses in seven locations.
- Steelman, Toddi A.; Nowell, Branda; Bayoumi, Deena; McCaffrey, Sarah. 2014. Understanding information exchange during disaster response: Methodological insights from infocentric analysis.
- McCaffrey, Sarah; Stidham, Melanie; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah. 2013. Little Bear Fire Summary Report.
- Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; McCaffrey, Sarah; Stidham, Melanie. 2013. Pine Ridge Fire summary report.
- Toman, Eric; Stidham, Melanie; McCaffrey, Sarah; Shindler, Bruce. 2013. Social science at the wildland-urban interface: a compendium of research results to create fire-adapted communities.
- McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Toman, Eric; Stidham, Melanie; Shindler, Bruce. 2012. Social Science Research Related to Wildfire Management: An Overview of Recent Findings and Future Research Needs.
- Sundstrom, Shiloh; Nielsen-Pincus, Max; Moseley, Cassandra; McCaffrey, Sarah. 2012. Woody biomass utilization trends, barriers, and strategies: Perspectives of U.S. Forest Service managers.
- McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Fisher, Cherie LeBlanc, eds. 2011. Abstracts of proceedings of the second conference on the human dimensions of wildland fire.
- Becker, Dennis R.; McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Abbas, Dalia; Halvorsen, Kathleen E.; Jakes, Pamela; Moseley, Cassandra. 2011. Conventional wisdoms of woody biomass utilization on federal public lands.
- Vogt, Christine; McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Winter, Greg. 2011. Defensible space features: impact of voluntary versus mandatory programs on a homeowner's attitudes and actions.
- Stidham, Melanie; Toman, Eric; McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Schinder, Bruce. 2011. Improving an inherently stressful situation: the role of communication during wildfire evacuations.
- McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Fisher, Cherie LeBlanc, eds. 2011. Proceedings of the second conference on the human dimensions of wildland fire.
- Toman, Eric; Stidham, Melanie; Shindler, Bruce; McCaffrey, Sarah. 2011. Reducing fuels in the wildland urban interface: Community perceptions of agency fuels treatments.
- McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Winter, Greg. 2011. Understanding homeowner preparation and intended actions when threatened by a wildfire.
- Vogt, Christine; McCaffrey, Sarah; Winter, Greg. 2010. What parts of a house and yard landscape are homeowners maintaining for wildfire safety.
- Black, Anne E.; Gebert, Krista; McCaffrey, Sarah; Steelman, Toddi; Canton-Thompson, Janie. 2009. A multi-disciplinary approach to fire management strategy, suppression costs, community interaction, and organizational performance.
- McCaffrey, Sarah. 2009. Crucial factors influencing public acceptance of fuels treatments.
- McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Rhodes, Alan. 2009. Public Response to Wildfire: Is the Australian "Stay and Defend or Leave Early" Approach an Option for Wildfire Management in the United States.
- Shindler, Bruce A.; Toman, Eric; McCaffrey, Sarah M. 2009. Public perspectives of fire, fuels, and the Forest Service in the Great Lakes Region: a survey of citizen-agency communication and trust.
- Winter, Greg; McCaffrey, Sarah; Vogt, Christine A. 2009. The role of community policies in defensible space compliance.
- McCaffrey, Sarah; Moghaddas, Jason J.; Stephens, Scott L. 2008. Different interest group views of fuels treatments: survey results from fire and fire surrogate treatments in a Sierran mixed conifer forest, California, USA.
- Kwon, Jeamok; Vogt, Christine; Winter, Greg; McCaffrey, Sarah. 2008. Forest fuels treatments for wildlife management: do local recreation users agree.
- Toman, Eric L.; Shindler, Bruce; Absher, Jim; McCaffrey, Sarah. 2008. Postfire communications: the influence of site visits on local support..
- Liou, Gwo-Bao; Vogt, Christine; Winter, Greg; McCaffrey, Sarah. 2008. Residents' values and fuels management approaches.
- McCaffrey, Sarah. 2008. The homeowner view of thinning methods for fire hazard reduction: more positive than many think.
- McCaffrey, Sarah. 2008. Understanding public perspectives of wildfire risk.
- Vogt, Christine; Winter, Greg; McCaffrey, Sarah. 2007. Community views of fuels management: are national forest local recreation users more supportive.
- González-Cabán, Armando; Haynes, Richard W.; McCaffrey, Sarah; Mercer, Evan; Watson, Alan, tech. eds. 2007. Fire social science research selected highlights..
- White, Rachel; McCaffrey, Sarah. 2007. Fuels planning: science synthesis and integration.
- McCaffrey, Sarah; Graham, Russell. 2007. Science information for informing forest fuel management in dry forests of the western United States.
- Sturtevant, Victoria; McCaffrey, Sarah. 2006. Encouraging Wildland Fire Preparedness: Lessons Learned from Three Wildfire Education Programs.
- McCaffrey, Sarah M. 2006. Prescribed fire: What influences public approval.
- Winter, Greg; Vogt, Christine; McCaffrey, Sarah. 2006. Residents warming up to fuels management: homeowners acceptance of wildfire and fuels management in the wildland-urban interface.
- Monroe, Martha C.; Pennisi, Lisa; McCaffrey, Sarah; Mileti, Dennis. 2006. Social science to improve fuels management: a synthesis of research relevant to communicating with homeowners about fuels management.
- McCaffrey, S.M. 2006. The public and wildland fire management: social science findings for managers.
- McCaffrey, Sarah. 2006. What does wildfire risk mean to the public.
- McCaffrey, Sarah M. 2004. Fighting fire with education: what is the best way to reach out to homeowners.
- McCafferey, Sarah. 2004. Incline Village, Nevada: Steps to improve community preparedness for wildfire..
- Graham, Russell T.; McCaffrey, Sarah; Jain, Theresa B. 2004. Science basis for changing forest structure to modify wildfire behavior and severity.
- Kent, Brian; Gebert, Krista; McCaffrey, Sarah; Martin, Wade; Calkin, David; Schuster, Ervin; Martin, Ingrid; Bender, Holly Wise; Alward, Greg; Kumagai, Yoshitaka; Cohn, Patricia J.; Carroll, Matt; Williams, Dan; Ekarius, Carol. 2004. Social and economic issues of the Hayman Fire.
- McCaffrey, Sarah. 2004. Thinking of Wildfire as a Natural Hazard.
- Kent, Brian; Gebert, Krista; McCaffrey, Sarah; Martin, Wade; Calkin, David; Schuster, Ervin; Martin, Ingrid; Bender, Holly Wise; Alward, Greg; Kumagai, Yoshitaka; Cohn, Patricia J.; Carroll, Matt; Williams, Daniel; Ekarius, Carol. 2003. Social and economic issues of the Hayman Fire.
- Dwyer, John F.; McCaffrey, Sarah M. 2002. The Wildland-Urban Interface: Increasing Significance, Complexity and Contribution.
|Identifying Policy Tools That Encourage Community-Level Defensible Space in Six U.S. Communities|
A Forest Service scientist and partners assessed outreach programs in six different communities and identified outreach tools that were effectiv ...
|Impediments to Woody Biomass Utilization on Federal Lands|
Efforts to increase woody biomass utilization have met with limited succes
|Improving Knowledge of Public Information Needs During a Wildfire|
Although fire managers actively work to provide information to the public during wildfires, little research has been conducted to understand whe ...
|Psychological Impacts of Experiencing a Wildfire|
New research by Forest Service scientists is examining how wildfire impacts to the landscape affect the post-fire psychological health of people ...
|Using Tweets to Model Wildfire Smoke|
Forest Service scientists and their partners found that crowdsourced data collected from Twitter can be used to accurately predict air quality i ...
|What Motivates Homeowners To Mitigate Fire Risk|
In working to foster fire-adapted communities, individuals and organization need to understand the dynamics of public support for fuels manageme ...