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Publication Information

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Title: Social, institutional, and psychological factors affecting wildfire incident decision making

Author: Thompson, Matthew P.;

Date: 2014

Source: Society and Natural Resources. 27(6): 636-644.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Managing wildland fire incidents can be fraught with complexity and uncertainty. Myriad human factors can exert significant influence on incident decision making, and can contribute additional uncertainty regarding programmatic evaluations of wildfire management and attainment of policy goals. This article develops a framework within which human sources of uncertainty in wildfire management can be classified and managed, specifically identifying social, institutional, and psychological factors that can affect wildland fire incident decision making. These factors are reviewed in the context of wildland fire incident management and the literature regarding fire manager decision making. I then provide specific recommendations for addressing these issues, with a focus on improving incident decision processes. Extending this framework to consider a broader set of human factors and to consider how human factors affect the broader wildfire management spectrum could lead to improved fire management outcomes.

Keywords: decision support, human factors, risk, uncertainty, wildfire management

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.



Thompson, Matthew P. 2014. Social, institutional, and psychological factors affecting wildfire incident decision making. Society and Natural Resources. 27(6): 636-644.


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