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    Author(s): Toddi A. Steelman; Sarah M. McCaffrey
    Date: 2011
    Source: Journal of Forestry. 109(8):454-461.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (138.83 KB)

    Description

    Conventional wisdom within American federal fire management agencies suggests that external influence such as community or political pressure for aggressive suppression are key factors circumscribing the ability to execute less aggressive fire management strategies. Thus, a better understanding of external constraints on fire management options is essential. This entails validating or refuting the perceptions of fire managers about the relative constraints that external pressures place on their ability to implement more flexible fire management options. In the summer of 2008, our research team traveled to two fires—the Gap in California and Gunbarrel in Wyoming—each of which used a different strategy for managing the fire. At each site, we interviewed key agency individuals and asked them about internal and external factors that influenced their fire management decisions. We also interviewed community members to understand whether they sought to influence fire management. Internal factors included procedural requirements and agency beliefs and attitudes. External factors included political and community pressures from the public who are often perceived to demand an aggressive suppression response. This article details how these internal and external factors influence flexibility in fire management. Our findings did not wholly support conventional wisdom and suggest that internal pressures are as important as external pressure in shaping fire management strategy.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
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    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, shobrla@fs.fed.us if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Steelman, Toddi A.; McCaffrey, Sarah M. 2011. What is limiting more flexible fire management--public or agency pressure. Journal of Forestry. 109(8):454-461.

    Keywords

    fire management, political pressure, community pressure, wildfire costs, fire suppression, wildfire policy

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