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Title: Communicating the wildland fire message: Influences on knowledge and attitude change in two case studies

Author: Toman, Eric; Shindler, Bruce;

Date: 2006

Source: In: Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W., comps. 2006. Fuels Management-How to Measure Success: Conference Proceedings. 28-30 March 2006; Portland, OR. Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 715-728

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Current wildland fire policy calls for citizen involvement in planning and management. To be effective in their efforts to engage outside stakeholders, resource professionals need to understand citizens’ understanding and attitudes toward current practices as well as how to best communicate about proposed actions. A variety of outreach methods have been used to communicate the rationale behind fuel reduction techniques. Limited evaluation of these efforts has occurred resulting in a lack of information available to guide the outreach decisions of agency personnel. This paper evaluates the effects of two basic communication strategies - unidirectional information exchange and interactive approaches - on participant understanding and attitudes. Data was collected in two phases; first, citizens completed a survey on-site prior to outreach participation, then, a follow-up questionnaire was mailed to each participant two weeks following initial contact. Resulting data enable assessment of the influence of outreach activities on participant understanding and attitudes and evaluation of factors that contributed to program success. Findings suggest interactive outreach methods may be more effective at influencing knowledge. However, unidirectional and interactive approaches influenced participants with low initial understanding of fire management or less supportive attitudes toward fuel practices. Results also showed a strong association between knowledge and attitude change suggesting fire professionals have a real opportunity to help shape public perceptions about appropriate management actions.

Keywords: fire, fire ecology, fuels management, wildland fire, outreach methods, fuel reduction techniques, unidirectional information exchange, interactive approaches

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Toman, Eric; Shindler, Bruce 2006. Communicating the wildland fire message: Influences on knowledge and attitude change in two case studies. In: Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W., comps. 2006. Fuels Management-How to Measure Success: Conference Proceedings. 28-30 March 2006; Portland, OR. Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 715-728

 


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