Research (Physical, Social, Ecology & Environmental)

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Southern Rockies Regional Fire Science Resource Network (PPT, 3 MB)
Presenter(s): Gloria Edwards, Southern Rockies Fire Science Network, Colorado State University
Description: Wildland fire scientists and managers are faced with challenging conditions in the Southern Rocky Mountain region: widespread increase in population and housing, dramatic change and decline in forest health, invasive weeds, combined with drought conditions and abundant forest fuel in an area characterized by shifting winds. Southern Rockies Fire Science Network (SRFSN), one of 14 national consortia, was created in 2010 to enable collaboration between managers, scientists, and communities, promoting application of credible science to on-the-ground fire management projects. SRFSN is user-driven, drawing together divergent research and resource-management cultures with workshops, field trips, webinars, demonstration sites, social media and digital communication. This presentation will review our projects, lessons learned, and outreach plans for Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and South Dakota.

Social Dynamics in Wildfire Risk Mitigation (PDF, 7 MB)
António Patrão, Portuguese Forest Services - ICNF
Description: Following the environmental, economic and social impacts of the 2003 catastrophic forest fires in Portugal, national agencies developed a systematic plan aimed at increase the resilience of the Portuguese territory to forest fires. One of the main challenges facing decision makers as they formulate state and local risk mitigation programs is how to change the behaviors of private property owners regarding risk mitigation measures that involve actions in private property. The study was developed in a small mountain rural community in the District of Coimbra (Center region of Portugal), named Piodão, which have experienced several catastrophic forest fires, (the most recent one in summer of 2005). Overall, results point out to the need to examining new ways to share information about fire planning prevention with communities, while recognizing their needs, values and patterns of behavior and involving them.

Identifying Wildfire Risk: Pairing Homeowner and Expert Risk Assessment (PDF, 2 MB)
Chris Barth, Montrose Interagency Fire Management Unit; Patricia Champ and Travis Warziniack, USFS-Rocky Mountain Research Station; James Meldrum and Hannah Brenkert-Smith, Institute of Behavioral Science
Description: Homeowner risk reduction is one of the central steps in reducing the overall costs of wildfire; however how homeowners evaluate the risk they face is still largely unclear. In this panel, speakers will discuss 1) The West Region Wildfire Council and its multi-county efforts to address wildfire risk in southwest Colorado; 2) A household survey data that reveals homeowners’ wildfire risk self-evaluations; 3) Comparisons between self-evaluations and objective risk assessments by fire experts; 4) Spatial spill-over effects (do the conditions on neighboring parcels affect homeowners’ decisions?; and 5) How spatial and social relationships contribute to homeowner decisions (do social interactions among neighbors bolster or dampen spill-over effects?)

Planning for Wildfire in Parks, Open Spaces and Common Areas (PDF, 9 MB)
Keith Worley, Forestree Development, LLC, Certified Arborist
Description: Urban and suburban greenbelts, parks and open spaces can be a source of wildfire that threatens structures. We will review management practices that can reduce risks to surrounding neighborhoods. Grass, brush, and forest fuel types will be covered along with mechanical and hand treatment options and costs and how to establish partnerships to reduce risks.

Integrating Thought Complexity into Forest Management (PDF, 2 MB)
Michael Czaja, PhS, Colorado State University
Description: The purpose of the study was to determine respondents’ level of thought complexity toward prescribed fire, and to develop a conceptual model to assist managers in assessing, understanding, and incorporating the public’s thought complexity into the management process. The study’s primary goal was to further validate a recently-developed measurement tool for integrative complexity and apply it to a new research scenario. Integrative complexity measures the diversity of arguments people recognize about an issue. The data came from residents living in three study areas in Colorado and Wyoming. Results suggest that integrative complexity affected the relationship between basic beliefs and attitudes toward prescribed fire. Findings should assist forest managers with developing prescribed fire-related policies, management actions, and communication strategies.

Loss of Landscape and Community Health: Impacts of the Wallow Fire after One Year
Dr. David Eisenman, MSHS is Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health at UCLA and Sarah McCaffrey, Ph.D., Research Social Scientist for the USDA Forest Service
Description: As wildfires in the United States grow in frequency and size, the number of individuals impacted by wildfire is increasing. Understanding the long-term impacts, if any, a wildfire may have on community members will be important in developing programs that minimize negative outcomes and foster more resilient fire adapted communities. However, to date, scant research attention has been paid to understanding the various impacts that experiencing a wildfire may have on community members. This presentation will discuss findings from a survey of local residents one year after the 2011 Wallow Fire in Arizona. The goal of the study was to identify impacts the fire has had on several aspects of community health. Elements discussed will include physical and mental health outcomes, how household economic factors and fire impacts on the surrounding landscape contributed to more positive and negative outcomes, and differences between permanent and part-time residents.

The Social Science of Moving a Woodpile and other Mitigation Tasks (PDF, 14 MB)
Pat Durland, Stone Creek Fire, LLC
Description: Understanding the physical science of wildfire hazards is simple compared to the social science of motivating individuals to take action. Nothing will change if woodpiles and other fuel hazards in the Home Ignition Zone aren’t mitigated. This session will present mitigation options that science is providing residents and will discuss techniques to help make them happen.

Understanding Planned Evacuation Decision Making of Homeowners During a Wildfire
Sarah McCaffrey, PhD., Research Social Scientist, USDA Forest Service
Description: Most social wildfire research to date has focused on mitigation actions taken before a fire event occurs with less attention paid to homeowner actions during a fire. However, the increasing number of stories of homeowners refusing to evacuate or leaving at the last minute has highlighted the need for more accurate understanding of the intended actions of homeowners during a fire and what factors shape their decision making. This presentation will report on results from a recent survey conducted in Texas, South Carolina and Washington with two primary objectives: 1) understand how risk perception and risk attitudes (tolerance/aversion) influence planned response of homeowners during a wildfire, and 2) assess the relative role of risk attitudes to other issues of concern in shaping planned response during a wildfire.

Humor in the Wooo-EEE
Keith Worley, Forestree Development, LLC, Certified Arborist
Description: If you haven’t heard Keith before you won’t want to miss this presentation. Keith is one of the few people we know who can bring a sense of humor to a serious subject offering his special brand of humor developed in the wild, woolly Wildland/Urban Interest of Perry Park, Colorado. See the new and improved Swiss Army Chainsaw, along with solar and wind powered chainsaw prototypes. See the Perry Park Precision Pruners Firewise® Drill Team. Finally, the ever expanding FEMA approved Slash Control Animal Technology (S.C.A.T) program update!