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Publication Information

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Title: Just blowing smoke? Residents’ social construction of communication about wildfire

Author: Paveglio, Travis; Carroll, Matthew S.; Absher, James D.; Norton, Todd.;

Date: 2009

Source: Environmental Communication. 3(1): 76-94

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: This study uses social constructionism as a basis for understanding the effectiveness of communication about wildfire risk between agency officials and wildland-urban interface (WUI) residents. Risk communication literature demonstrates a welldocumented difference in the way land managers and stakeholders conceptualize risk. This is especially true of fire because management of these hazards have changed so drastically in past decades; fire managers have typically struggled to clearly articulate the current management policy to the public or integrate their specific knowledge in the risk management process. This study contributes to an understanding of how WUI residents construct communication about wildland fire and agency effectiveness in communicating the new era of fire inclusion. Specifically, we explore the personal and professional sources of information residents’ use to understand their fire risk and the subjects they would like more information about. We also explore the continued viability of Smokey Bear, the most enduring symbol of fire management.

Keywords: Communication, Wildland Fire, Land Management, Focus Groups

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Paveglio, Travis; Carroll, Matthew S.; Absher, James D.; Norton, Todd. 2009. Just blowing smoke? Residents’ social construction of communication about wildfire. Environmental Communication. 3(1): 76-94.


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