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Letdowns, Wake-Up Calls, and Constructed Preferences: People’s Responses to Fuel and Wildfire Risks

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This article presents results from three studies, which seek to develop a better understanding of some of the difficulties faced by forest managers in making wildfire risk management decisions. Study 1 showed that both the experts and the public tend to emphasize uncontrollable factors when asked to consider the causes of wildfires. Study 2 revealed the large role played by emotional responses in judgments about wildfire risks. Study 3 showed that preferences for risk management options tend to be remarkably malleable in response to even slight shifts in framing. In contrast to previous studies that call for improved public education about wildfire, our results emphasize the need to introduce improved processes to inform both expert and public decisionmaking for fire risk management.
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Keywords: decisionmaking; policy; risk management; wildland fire

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 June 2006

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