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

Just Accepted

This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

A multi-region analysis of factors that influence public acceptance of smoke from different fire sources

Christine Olsen , Eric Toman , Stacey Frederick


The increase in area burned by wildfire has simultaneously brought increased concern about smoke impacts, both from wildfires and fires intentionally set to manage landscapes. Public concern about potential health and other impacts of smoke can cause apprehension among managers who are considering prescribed burns, some to the point that they choose not to burn. Yet, little is known about public acceptance of smoke. Using results from public surveys in four states, this paper explores factors that influence public acceptance of smoke from six fire types (wildfire, prescribed fire, agricultural burns, managed fire, pile burns, and burns on private lands) as well as aggregate acceptance across all fire types. Overall, the public is generally accepting of smoke, particularly for fire types that are either viewed as uncontrollable (wildfire) or benefitting broader society rather than individuals. However, a sizable minority does not accept smoke. Factors that influence acceptance vary by fire type, but several were influential to acceptance of smoke from multiple types of fire, including both health and non-health related risk, confidence in managing agencies, beliefs about prescribed fire benefits, and rural living, among others. Prior experience with negative health impacts from smoke only influenced acceptance for agricultural burns.

WF16034  Accepted 01 March 2017

© CSIRO 2017