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Postfire Communications: The Influence of Site Visits on Local Support

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The prevalence of large wildfires has increased in recent years. In many cases, agency personnel have little prior experience to draw from to organize their postfire response to uncharacteristically large events. However, local residents look to resource managers to provide the necessary leadership to work through these difficult decisions. In particular, methods to create meaningful discussion of management priorities with local citizens are essential. This article reports results from a telephone survey of participants in a US Forest Service–led tour after the Booth and Bear Butte Complex Fires in central Oregon. Findings indicate that the tour provided local residents with useful information and contributed to improved understanding of potential actions. Participants also expressed a high level of support for active management to restore forest conditions. The most striking outcome was the substantial goodwill generated by the tour among participants. Responses showed a high level of appreciation for and improved confidence in local US Forest Service personnel.

Keywords: agency outreach; communication; postfire planning; social acceptability

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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