International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
International Journal of Wildland Fire

International Journal of Wildland Fire

Volume 24 Number 2 2015

RESEARCH FRONT: The Role of Social Science in the Governance and Management of Wildland Fire

WF15030The role of social science in the governance and management of wildland fire

Karyn Bosomworth, John Handmer and Richard Thornton
pp. 151-152

Global social-economic and environmental changes are increasing the challenges of wildfire risk management. Addressing these challenges requires perspectives beyond knowledge of the bio-physical dynamics of fire. This Special Section provides some such perspectives, including safety, children's understanding of the risk, indigenous knowledge of fire, and ‘shared responsibility’. Each paper highlights important challenges and ideas for fire management.

WF12213Predicting delay in residents’ decisions on defending v. evacuating through antecedents of decision avoidance

Ilona M. McNeill, Patrick D. Dunlop, Timothy C. Skinner and David L. Morrison
pp. 153-161

Many residents of at-risk areas delay committing to defence or evacuation as their response to wildfire threat. This study compared several plausible causes of decision delay and determined that householders’ delay was best predicted by the difference in perceived values of defending v. evacuating, resulting in decision delay when both options get closer in attractiveness.


Using a conceptual framework we make explicit some of the necessary but often hidden trade-offs that are implicit in assessments of ‘shared responsibility’ for wildfire management. We compare and contrast potential legal and governance implications of four extreme positions on wildfire management to encourage stakeholders to acknowledge and debate the necessary value trade-offs.


Alternatives to mass evacuation during a wildfire are being increasingly considered in the United States. We examine how individuals in four communities considering an alternative assess the issues. The tension between increasing safety and reducing uncertainty for emergency responders versus for residents is a key consideration in choosing a preferred strategy.


This paper presents a detailed qualitative analysis of Australian children’s knowledge of bushfire hazards with a specific focus on emergency response. The analysis highlights the need for school-based bushfire education that promotes genuine dialogue between children, educators and parents and accommodates the existing knowledge and perspectives of these various stakeholders.


This study reports on a quantitative investigation to discover the relationships of, and whether mindfulness and self-compassion of fire supervisors could predict desired wildland firefighter leadership qualities as perceived by crewmembers. Significant relationships were found among mindful and self-compassionate supervisors' scores and higher crewmember ratings of their crew supervisors' leadership.

WF14091Understanding social impact from wildfires: advancing means for assessment

Travis B. Paveglio, Hannah Brenkert-Smith, Troy Hall and Alistair M. S. Smith
pp. 212-224

In this paper we describe the need for a more comprehensive set of considerations that can be used to understand social impact from wildfires. We review existing literature from multiple fields to develop an expanded set of considerations that could be used to assess wildfire impact across diverse social systems.


The ignition probability of dry-eucalypt forest litter by flaming and glowing firebrand samples was tested in the laboratory for litter moisture contents of between 2% and 20% and air flows of zero, 1 m s–1 and 2 m s–1. Ignition probabilities were modelled as functions of fuel moisture content and air flow.

WF13163Utah juniper and two-needle piñon reduction alters fuel loads

Kert R. Young, Bruce A. Roundy, Stephen C. Bunting and Dennis L. Eggett
pp. 236-248

Juniper–piñon encroachment reduced herbaceous and increased canopy and woody fuel loads. Burn treatments reduced fuel loads whereas cutting and masticating juniper–piñon converted canopy to surface fuels, which reduced the potential for crown fire and extreme fire intensity. Cool-season prescribed fire after mechanical treatments could reduce surface fuels and potential burn severity.


Fire activity was very high in the Northern Territory and in open forests. Fire season was bimodal, with a first fire activity peak in May and a second one in October. Fire intensity was higher in the late dry season, peaking in October, and in areas of open woodlands.

WF13200The influence of external factors on false alarms in an infrared fire detection system

Pedro Canales Mengod, José Andrés Torrent Bravo and Leticia López Sardá
pp. 261-266

This study analyses an infrared fire detection system in order to determine which external factors influence the creation of false alarms. It has been observed that factors such as time of day, type of surface or orientation of the surveillance cameras, directly affect the generation of false alarms.

WF13071Fire emission uncertainties and their effect on smoke dispersion predictions: a case study at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, USA

Aika Y. Davis, Roger Ottmar, Yongqiang Liu, Scott Goodrick, Gary Achtemeier, Brian Gullett, Johanna Aurell, William Stevens, Roby Greenwald, Yongtao Hu, Armistead Russell, J. Kevin Hiers and M. Talat Odman
pp. 276-285

Multiple models are used to calculate fire emissions. This study directly compares estimated variables used in fire emission calculations to field measurements. We identify which variables are important in emission calculations. The effect of fire emission uncertainty on plume dispersion prediction is also reported.


Hanson and Odion (2014) claim to refute earlier studies showing increasing fire severity in certain forest types on Forest Service-managed lands in the area of the Sierra Nevada, California. We demonstrate numerous methodological issues and errors in their analysis that contribute to considerable uncertainty in the conclusions they draw.


Safford et al. (this issue) question our earlier findings that fire severity has not increased in Sierra Nevada conifer forests 1984–2010, hypothesising that an increasing trend might have appeared had we restricted our analysis to wildland fire in frequent-fire forest types on US Forest Service lands. Here, we tested that hypothesis and again found no trend of increasing severity.

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