Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Hannah Brenkert-Smith; Katherine L. Dickinson; Patricia A. Champ; Nicholas Flores
    Date: 2013
    Source: Risk Analysis. 33(5): 800-817.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (597.0 KB)

    Description

    Wildfire is a persistent and growing threat across much of the western United States. Understanding how people living in fire-prone areas perceive this threat is essential to the design of effective risk management policies. Drawing on the social amplification of risk framework, we develop a conceptual model of wildfire risk perceptions that incorporates the social processes that likely shape how individuals in fire-prone areas come to understand this risk, highlighting the role of information sources and social interactions.We classify information sources as expert or nonexpert, and group social interactions according to two dimensions: formal versus informal, and generic versus fire-specific. Using survey data from two Colorado counties, we empirically examine how information sources and social interactions relate to the perceived probability and perceived consequences of a wildfire. Our results suggest that social amplification processes play a role in shaping how individuals in this area perceive wildfire risk. A key finding is that both "vertical" (i.e., expert information sources and formal social interactions) and "horizontal" (i.e., nonexpert information and informal interactions) interactions are associated with perceived risk of experiencing a wildfire. We also find evidence of perceived "risk interdependency" - that is, homeowners' perceptions of risk are higher when vegetation on neighboring properties is perceived to be dense. Incorporating social amplification processes into community-based wildfire education programs and evaluating these programs' effectiveness constitutes an area for future inquiry. Keywords: risk perception; social amplification of risk (SAR); social interactions; wildfire risk information

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to rmrspubrequest@fs.fed.us to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Dickinson, Katherine L.; Champ, Patricia A.; Flores, Nicholas. 2013. Social amplification of wildfire risk: The role of social interactions and information sources. Risk Analysis. 33(5): 800-817.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    risk perception, social amplification of risk (SAR), social interactions, wildfire risk information

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page