Funded Research Projects: SOCIAL SCIENCES

In-depth Analyses of Interviews with Forest Fire Stakeholders in Mount Hood and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests

Research Sponsored By: US Forest Service
Principal Investigator: Stanley Asah
Project Description
In 2011 and 2012, the USDA Forest Service PNW research station entered into two JVAs with the University of Washington. The main goals for the agreements were to examine public perceptions and attitudes toward forest fires and smoke, and to provide advice on strategies to facilitate community tolerance for forest fires and smoke as well as compliance with forest fire management prescriptions. To this date, 26 open ended focus group conversations have been held with fire managers and outreach and communication personnel as well as various community members within the Mount Hood and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests communities. All focus group conversations were audio-recorded and have been transcribed. Data analyses are in progress. Focus group interview design and protocol were reviewed and approved by the University of Washington's Institutional Review Board of the Human Subjects Division. IRB approval HSD Study #50192. Preliminary analyses of focus group conversations suggest two important findings that require more consideration through in-depth analyses and reporting. Preliminary findings suggest that public tolerance for forest fires and smoke, and the management of these are also shaped by their perceptions and attitudes toward political forces and agency-community relations. The purpose of this agreement is to conduct further in-depth analysis to explore the presence and salience of political forces and perceived community-agency relations on community tolerance of forest fires and smoke and related management practices.