Cohesive Fire Strategy

Action Plan Tracking Tool

Northeast Overarching O6

Set up communications infrastructure to inform and educate the public and relevant policy makers on the role of wildland fire on the landscape, and to mobilize people for action.

Thursday, August 28, 2014 02:00 PM by larry
National & Regional

Randy Swaty

BIA, DOI, FEMA, Firewise, FLN, FWS, IAFC, NACO, NFPA, NPS, NRCS, SAF, State Forestry Associations, USFA, USFS, WFLC, Wildland and Structural Fire Departments, University Extension, NASF, NAASF, & NE RSC

Short Term (0-2 years), Mid Term (2-4 years), & Long Term (>4 years)

Research has found (McCafferty and Olsen, 2012) that the public has a fairly sophisticated understanding of fire’s ecological role and the environmental factors that can increase fire risk. The public obtains information on fire from a wide variety of sources, but findings consistently show that interactive information sources are both generally preferred and more effective than unidirectional sources. As a way to improve ecosystem health and reduce fire risk, active land management generally has greater citizen support than a no-action alternative. Most respondents accept the practice of prescribed fire for active forest management and tolerate the accompanying smoke; in contrast, smoke is a highly salient issue for households with health concerns. The public tends to see mitigating the fire risk as a shared responsibility with landowners, whether public or private, responsible for taking appropriate action on their own property. Wildland fire management, including fuels treatments, can have significant benefits to tourism officials and stakeholders, utility providers (e.g., watershed managers, utility line maintenance), transportation planners, insurance industry, not to mention the public at large through prevention of both smaller human-caused fires, especially in the WUI, as well as larger wildfires. These benefits must be communicated. One effort underway to increase communication is the USFS Fire Adapted Communities (FAC) program which is working with The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Fire Learning Network (FLN) and the Watershed Research and Training Center (WRTC) to establish nation-wide hub and spoke FAC Learning Network. Fire managers and social scientists have learned that in-person and interactive forms of communication are more effective than simple one-way education or blanket marketing campaigns. "Hubs" or sub-regional network leaders will be cultivated through technical support, communications facilitation, documentation of learning and workshop assistance. The "Spokes" will be the interactions between the hubs and local community based institutions. Goals for this effort include: 1) Share learning and innovation across the 3 goals of the Cohesive Strategy; 2) Accelerate adoption, innovation and diffusion of best FAC practices; and 3) Provide a feedback loop to FAC to more efficiently and effectively support fire adapted communities.

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