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Public Concerns About Fire. Fear of Fire. 1937: President Roosevelt campaigns to reduce human-caused fires. Uncle Sam forest ranger. . “Your Forests – Your Fault – Your Loss”. WWII Era.

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fear of fire
Fear of Fire
  • 1937: President Roosevelt campaigns to reduce human-caused fires.
  • Uncle Sam forest ranger.

“Your Forests – Your Fault – Your Loss”

wwii era
WWII Era
  • Americans feared that a fire could destroy forest resources when wood products were greatly needed for the war effort.
  • Few firefighters in US because so many men in the military.
  • Wartime Advertising Council slogans: "Forest Fires Aid the Enemy," and “Careless Matches Aid the Axis.”
bambi
Bambi
  • In 1944, Walt Disney released the movie “Bambi,” and allowed the Forest Service to use the deer on their campaign posters for one year.
  • The Forest Service decided to continue using an animal and chose a bear for their fire safety mascot.
smokey the bear
Smokey the Bear
  • Created August 9, 1944
  • Longest running campaign in U.S. history.
today s smokey
Today’s Smokey

“Only You Can Prevent WILDfires.”

geographics demographics
Geographics & Demographics
  • Where you grew up, how is fire thought of? Is prescribed fire used?
  • Are fire perceptions different in forest communities vs. urban?
    • Forest: fire may interfere with revenue, will it be effective in forest matrix
    • Urban: disconnected from ecosystem around them
  • Vacation home owner vs. permanent resident?
    • Vacation: aesthetics and recreation important
    • Permanent: fire protection
  • Lake Tahoe, Malibu, Oakland Hills vs. east Arizona, San Bernardino
    • Wealthier: property is more replaceable, but also more money for fuel reduction around homes
  • Exposed to previous wildfire vs. never exposed
  • Retired vs babyboomer community
    • Retired: Aren’t physically able to clear vegetation around homes, less $
  • Remote vs. proximate prescribed fires
prescribed burning excuses
Prescribed Burning “Excuses”
  • From Biswell
  • All fires are bad
  • Prescribed fire confused with wildfires
  • Too much danger of escaping control
  • Dislike of smoke
  • Prescribed burning is too costly
  • Let it be an act of God.
  • Too much responsibility
  • We can lose our jobs
  • There is no money for prescribed burning
  • Public won’t let us burn
  • There aren’t enough burn days
  • Negative influence of powerful people
  • We need more research

Citizen response

Manager response

objective develop a campaign to encourage public approval of prescribed fire
Objective: Develop a campaign to encourage public approval of prescribed fire

5 Phases

  • Preplanning
    • Notice,editorial, scoping
    • Public meeting
  • Planning
    • Notice,editorial, scoping
  • Implementation
    • Signs on road, media
  • Post Fire Monitoring
    • Field trips, speaking engagements
  • Refining the plan
    • Public meeting
recommendations from weldon
Recommendations from Weldon

 Talk to the public about fire in ecosystems

  • Ecological Facts
      • Develop simple ways to present ecological processes
        • Field trips, media, demonstrations, publications
  • Benefits
    • Biological diversity, forest sustainability, wildlife habitat
  • Consequences
    • Tradeoffs between prescribed fire and suppression
    • Personal interactions through field trips
    • Proactive management
  • Risks
    • Honest about technical abilities, limits, and potential for escapes
    • Explain goals, design and implementation of prescribed burns
recommendations from weldon13
Recommendations from Weldon
  • Listen to public concerns
    • Use to establish the rate of fire restoration
    • Get support early on small projects
    • Answer questions related to the technical aspects
      • Fire behavior, desirable burning conditions
  • Be responsive to public concerns
    • Wood fiber use
      • Consider alternatives, complements (thinning)
    • Smoke
      • Choose good smoke dispersal conditions
      • Plan size, duration and location to minimize smoke
tough issues
Tough Issues
  • How much public input is ideal?
    • Delays process
      • SNEF allowed any organization to write alternative management strategies, but this extended the process 1-2 years.
    • Can be overruled by politics
      • USFS Region Forester or NPS Park Superintendent makes final decision.
  • If public is not completely receptive to fire, what should managers do?
    • Go ahead with some burning and then promote the outcome?
    • Or do they need to get approval first, and then build a program?
public outreach programs
Public Outreach Programs
  • CDF VMP Program (1981)
    • Cost-sharing program between private landowners and CDF to reduce fire-prone vegetation.
      • prescribed burns and mechanical removal
    • Approximately $3.5 million annual budget
    • Burned on average 27,000 acres/year in last 10 years
  • California FireSafe Councils (1993)
    • 132 councils
    • Goals:
      • Provide support and resources for grassroot organizations involved in fire safety
      • Distribute fire safe educational materials
      • Evaluate fire safe legislation
  • FireWise
    • Similar goals to FireSafe, but a more national scope
    • Federal agency support
defensible space
Defensible Space

Alberta Canada, Timberlines Forest Inventory Consultants Newsletter

what can be improved
What Can Be Improved?
  • Promote prescribed fire successes
    • Where did they reduce wildfire behavior? Protect communities?
    • What strategies made a difference?
    • Vs media coverage of escapes
  • Adaptive management
    • What didn’t work? Why did an escape occur and how can it be prevented?
    • Quantify the positive effects of fuel reduction (wildfire prevention, reduced spead/intensity) vs. just saying that fuel reduction was done
what can be improved19
What Can Be Improved?
  • Promote prescribed fire successes
    • Where did they reduce wildfire behavior? Protect communities?
    • What strategies made a difference?
    • Vs media coverage of escapes
  • Adaptive management
    • What didn’t work? Why did an escape occur and how can it be prevented?
    • Quantify the positive effects of fuel reduction (wildfire prevention, reduced spead/intensity) vs. just saying that fuel reduction was done
what can be improved20
What Can Be Improved?
  • Promote prescribed fire successes
    • Where did they reduce wildfire behavior? Protect communities?
    • What strategies made a difference?
    • Vs media coverage of escapes
  • Adaptive management
    • What didn’t work? Why did an escape occur and how can it be prevented?
    • Quantify the positive effects of fuel reduction (wildfire prevention, reduced spead/intensity) vs. just saying that fuel reduction was done
what can be improved21
What Can Be Improved?
  • More responsibility to individuals
    • Defensible space around homes
    • Reduce accidental ignitions (Smokey idea)
    • Reduce expectations of local governments
    • Financial support from federal govt and communities
    • Remove prescribed fire liability (ex. CDF VMP)
  • Incentives in the wildland urban interface
    • Decrease WUI expansion
      • Zoning, city planning, high insurance premiums
    • Decrease fire susceptibility
      • Tax breaks, community recognition for fire-smart landscaping and defensible space
slide22

New

Educational

Images?

history of fire perceptions and policy
History of Fire Perceptions and Policy
  • 1905 Nationwide fire suppression USFS
  • 1911 Weeks Act – federal govt reimburses states for suppression costs
  • 1920s Depression  large labor pool for suppression

Light burning controversy

  • 1924 CDF adopts fire suppression policy
  • 1929 USFS proposes firebreak along entire western Sierra Nevada to protect timber
  • 1933 CCC created Ponderosa Way firebreak 650 mi long, 45-60 mi wide
  • 1935 10am policy USFS
  • 1937 Fire prevention ad campaign begins “Your Forests-Your Fault”
  • 1944 Smokey is born
  • 1945 CDF allows landowners to burn brushlands for livestock forage
  • 1947 Weather modification investigated (lightning suppression, rainmaking)
  • 1950s Biswell studies prescribed fire in CA, leads demonstration burns

WWII technology, labor and attitude transferred to fire suppression

  • 1962 Tall Timbers Research Station established, annual fire conferences
  • 1964 Leopold Report/Wilderness Act – fire allowed to play a natural role
history of fire perceptions and policy24
History of Fire Perceptions and Policy
  • 1968 Sequoia National Park begins prescribed natural fire program
  • 1971 USFS begins to allow prescribed natural fires in some areas
  • 1972 Yosemite begins Prescribed Natural Fire Program
  • 1975 CA State Parks begin prescribed burning at Calaveras Big Trees
  • 1978 USFS 10am policy revoked, fire “management” replaces fire “control”
  • 1981 CDF Vegetation Management Program
  • 1988 Yellowstone Fires resulted in a fire policy review

(need for clearer management plans and more public education)

  • 1990s Wildland Urban Interface becomes an issue of concern

Fuel reduction and demonstrations, DFPZs are born

  • 1995 USFS Fire Policy Review

Public education paramount

Natural resources should be equally valued as personal property

Fuel reduction necessary to deal with hazardous fuel conditions

  • 2000 Cerro Grande Fire placed fire moratorium on NPS and CA State Parks until contingency planning improved.
  • 2003 Healthy Forest Restoration Act

Encourages public to determine fuel reduction priorities in their communities

Streamline the fuel reduction process by bypassing some environmental analysis