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Project ID: 10-1-03-7

Year: 2010

Date Started: 10/01/2010

Date Completed: 06/30/2014

Title: Examining the Influence of Communication Programs and Partnerships on Perceptions of Smoke Management

Project Proposal Abstract: This project examines how communication programs and fire and fuels-related community partnerships influence public perceptions of smoke management across multiple regions. Using a case study design, we will compare communities where smoke (from wildfire or prescribed fire) has impacted citizens and examine the factors that influence acceptance levels. We will identify communication strategies that were used in relation to smoke, assess community preparedness for fire and presence of partnerships, and explore whether these strategies and partnerships influence citizen tolerance of smoke. Preliminary results will be synthesized and used in a series of behavioral experiments at each study site to assess the influ-ence of different interventions on participants attitudes and behaviors towards smoke. This project ad-dresses RFA 2010-1, Task Statement 3, Questions 4 and 5. The purpose of this project is to improve our understanding of the factors that influence citizen tolerance of smoke and assess the effectiveness of management interventions, including communication programs, to influence citizen responses. 1. Identify appropriate research sites where prescribed fires have recently occurred or are planned, or there has recently been a wildland fire. Sites will be chosen to represent a variety of geographic, ecological, and social regions. The intention is to choose sites employing different com-munication strategies and with varying degrees of preparedness for wildfire and community partner-ships. At least three sites will be included in this research (see description of candidate sites below). 2. Compare perceptions about and tolerance of smoke across multiple regions. The research team will conduct a series of interviews with agency personnel and key community members across loca-tions. These interviews will inform the development of a general population survey that will be repli-cated across the study sites. Results will enable comparisons across locations to identify similarities and key differences in public understanding, attitudes, and acceptance. 3. Evaluate factors that influence perceptions of smoke, prescribed fire, fuel reduction, and citi-zen-agency communication. Grounded in the Augmented RISP social-psychological model, the re-search team will examine the factors that influence citizen acceptance of smoke within and across lo-cations. The analysis will examine the role of beliefs (including risk perceptions, trust, perceived knowledge, etc.) in influencing information seeking and processing behaviors, norms, and perceived behavioral control on attitudes toward smoke. The analysis will also account for the role of site char-acteristics, history of citizen-agency interactions and communication strategies, and wildfire prepar-edness and other important contextual factors in the analysis. 4. Develop experimental communication approaches and examine their effectiveness. Based on findings to Objective 3, the research team will develop different communication designed to influence those variables most strongly associated with citizen acceptance of smoke. A series of experiments will be conducted with participants to examine the effectiveness of these messages. 5. Conduct regional workshops to discuss findings and implications with JFSP cooperators and partner groups. This research will be useful if it is relevant to those who can benefit most. We will work with agency partners to conduct workshops and provide technology transfer materials for ap-propriate audiences (e.g., decision-makers, fire management and outreach personnel, community leaders). Discussion will include how to best use the information resulting from this study.

Principal Investigator: Eric L. Toman

Agency/Organization: Ohio State University

Branch or Dept: School of Environment & Natural Resources-Columbus

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Christine S. Olsen

Oregon State University

Department of Forest Ecosystems & Society

Federal Cooperator

Alexandra Paige Fischer

Forest Service

PNW-Forestry Sciences Lab-Corvallis

Federal Fiscal Representative

Rebecca A. Slick

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network












Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
view or print   1727 Government Publication Public Perceptions of Smoke and Smoke Communication: A General Population Survey
view or print   1690 Government Publication Perceptions of Smoke Management: a Summary of Interview Findings in Oregon
view or print   1691 Government Publication Perceptions of Smoke Management: a Summary of Interview Findings in South Carolina
view or print   1539 Government Publication Perceptions of Smoke Management: a Summary of Interview Findings in California
view or print   1540 Government Publication Perceptions of Smoke Management: a Summary of Interview Findings in Montana
view or print   3701 Journal Article Journal of Forestry
view or print   3511 Journal Article Environmental Management
view or print go to website 313 MS Thesis Exploring the Factors that Characterize the Decision Process for the Use of Prescribed Fire in South
view or print go to website 330 MS Thesis Public Perceptions of Smoke from Wildfire, Prescribed Fire, and Fire Use
view or print   307 MS Thesis Influencing Public Perceptions of Smoke Management and Prescribed Burning Programs: An Analysis of Opportunities Existing in Communication Tactics, Community-Based Partnerships and Interagency Decision Making
view or print   7513 Invited Paper/Presentation Public perceptions of smoke from wildfire, prescribed fire, and fire use
  go to website 7314 Training Session Public Perceptions of Smoke in Oregon and California
view or print go to website 7315 Poster Traversing through the haze: exploring the human perspective of smoke from fire
view or print   7323 Conference/Symposia/Workshop The hazards of smoke from fire and fuels management: application of the RISP model
view or print   4105 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Public Tolerance for Smoke and Influencing Factors: A Preliminary Look at Survey Findings From Four States
view or print   4126 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Communication Strategies and Sustainable Partnership Development in Forest Management: An Examination of Tolerance for Smoke From Prescribed Fire in Four U.S. Communities
view or print   7506 Invited Paper/Presentation Public perceptions of smoke
view or print   7507 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Public and agency perceptions about smoke: interview and survey results from four states
view or print   7508 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Public and agency perceptions about smoke: Interview and survey results from four states
    7509 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Longitudinal panel results: How the 2012 fire season impacted public perceptions in Northern Califor
view or print   7510 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Smoke and people: The implications of beliefs, attitudes, and perceived risk for communication
view or print   7324 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Public acceptance of smoke from wild, prescribed, and private-use fire
view or print   6484 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Perceptions of Smoke: An Examination of the Challenges and Opportunities in Smoke Management Across Four U.S. National Forests
  go to website 6332 Training Session The NWCG Smoke Committee (SmoC)-Four Presentations and Discussion Period Examined Public Perception and Messaging About Smoke and Wildland Fire
view or print   5755 Conference/Symposia/Workshop The Influence of Communication Strategies on Public Acceptance of Smoke: Preliminary Results From Communities Adjacent to Four US National Forests
  go to website 7271 Training Session Current Research on Public Perceptions of Smoke from Wildland and Prescribed Fire
view or print   7100 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Fire Managers and Air Quality Regulators on Communicating With the Public About Smoke: Stories From Four States
view or print   6955 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Who Hates Smoke? Some Ideas About How to Talk to Them
view or print   6971 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Perceptions of Smoke Management: Survey Results From Communities Near Four National Forests

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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