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Engaging communities in post-fire restoration: forest treatments and community-agency relations after the Cerro Grande fireAuthor(s): Robert L. Ryan; Elisabeth M. Hamin
Source: In: McCaffrey, S.M., tech. ed. The public and wildland fire management: social science findings for managers. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-1. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 87-96.
Publication Series: Other
Station: Northern Research Station
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DescriptionOur research provides advice to managers in their work in post-fire forest rehabilitation based on focus groups and interviews in the Los Alamos, New Mexico, community after the Cerro Grande fire of 2000. We address two key issues: how different restoration efforts compare to natural revegetation from the public?s perspective, and how to effectively communicate with and engage the public in the rehabilitation process. Overall, resident perceptions of the USDA Forest Service were reported to be better after the fire than before, and acceptance of hazard mitigation measures had also increased significantly. Not surprisingly the key aspect to residents? perceptions of the Forest Service was the amount and quality of communication, and the availability of a clear person to go to with questions. A second important aspect was supporting volunteers in rehabilitation efforts, which both aids the forest and helps the community heal from the trauma of the fire. Such fires create an opportunity to increase networks of collaboration and cooperation, both with residents and with other agencies. The study found strong support for rehabilitation techniques that stabilized soils and minimized flood damage near developed areas. One point of near consensus was the need to remove hazard trees from trails and to re-open trails and other popular recreation areas as quickly as possible. However, residents? perceptions varied about how many dead and dying trees should have been removed after the fire as well as how much area should be seeded.
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CitationRyan, Robert L.; Hamin, Elisabeth M. 2006. Engaging communities in post-fire restoration: forest treatments and community-agency relations after the Cerro Grande fire. In: McCaffrey, S.M., tech. ed. The public and wildland fire management: social science findings for managers. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-1. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 87-96.
Keywordscommunication, fuels treatments, defensible space, wildfire management, social acceptance, education, wildland urban interface
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