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Forests 2016, 7(9), 184; doi:10.3390/f7090184

Practitioner Perceptions of Wildland Fire Management across South Europe and Latin America

1
Department of Crops and Forest Sciences, School of Agrifood and Forestry Science and Engineering University of Lleida, Avenida Rovira Roure 191, Lleida 25198, Spain
2
Natural Resources and Society Department, College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Dave Verbyla and Timothy A. Martin
Received: 17 June 2016 / Revised: 18 August 2016 / Accepted: 19 August 2016 / Published: 24 August 2016
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Abstract

Wildfire presents a challenge to natural resource managers the world over, and the intentional setting of fires can be used to alleviate some of the challenges associated with wildfire management. Prescribed burning can be used prior to wildfires to reduce fuel loads and promote ecological integrity in fire-adapted systems, while suppression burning can help firefighters control the direction, extent, and intensity of wildfire behavior under extreme conditions. In both cases, the success of intentional fire use depends on training, knowledge, experience, and institutional and social support. The influence of these factors can significantly impact whether fire use is perceived as positive or negative, increasing or decreasing, and whether managers are supportive of its incorporation into their management planning and decision-making. Perceived impediments to fire use are likely to differ based on location, level of training and experience, and even the social context of fire management specific to different job positions in natural resource management. In order to explore how managers and stakeholders across the world perceive fire use, we surveyed over 700 respondents from 12 countries and three continents. This study represents the largest survey of perceptions on managed fire use ever conducted. Perceptions differed across age categories, job positions, and regions. Countries or regions with larger amounts of wildfire area burned tended to be more supportive of fire use for suppression, while countries with less wildfire had less positive perceptions of fire use for either prescribed or suppression burning. Bureaucracy and social perceptions were identified as impediments to using prescribed fire prior to wildfire occurrence, but neither were identified as impediments to fire use during suppression procedures. Across the countries, fire use in suppression was viewed more positively than prescribed fire use prior to wildfire occurrence. View Full-Text
Keywords: prescribed fire; wildland fire; suppression burning; counter fires; fuels management; fire severity; fire use perception prescribed fire; wildland fire; suppression burning; counter fires; fuels management; fire severity; fire use perception
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Molina-Terrén, D.M.; Cardil, A.; Kobziar, L.N. Practitioner Perceptions of Wildland Fire Management across South Europe and Latin America. Forests 2016, 7, 184.

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