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.
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
WF12213Predicting delay in residents’ decisions on defending v. evacuating through antecedents of decision avoidance
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.
WF12201Exposing hidden-value trade-offs: sharing wildfire management responsibility between government and citizens
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.
WF13048Social science research on Indigenous wildfire management in the 21st century and future research needs
This article reviews social science research on Indigenous wildfire management in Australia, Canada and the United States after the year 2000 and explores future research needs in the field.
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.
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.
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.
WF13201Seasonal differences in fire activity and intensity in tropical savannas of northern Australia using satellite measurements of fire radiative power
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.
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.
Analysis of meteorological data from1979 to 2009 over North America yields a climatology of the convective environment, which is important for understanding the behaviour of large wildland fires and their plumes. The analysis estimates the effect of fire heat and moisture emissions on potential convection.
WF13071Fire emission uncertainties and their effect on smoke dispersion predictions: a case study at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, USA
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.
WF14013Differences in land ownership, fire management objectives and source data matter: a reply to Hanson and Odion (2014)
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.
WF14219Sierra Nevada fire severity conclusions are robust to further analysis: a reply to Safford et al.
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.