U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Fire Science Brief, Issue 111, June 2010


US government work.


In many areas of the U.S. where wildfires are a recognized hazard, public agencies have taken steps to involve the public in reduction of the risks. Programs have ranged from purely voluntary public education to building codes for new buildings and ordinances for vegetation control. Some local governments provide free or subsidized services to reduce fire risks. Recently enacted federal and state policies encourage local government to become more active in managing wildfire hazards. Interest in creating local public programs to achieve hazard reduction has sparked research into which steps will have the most success in achieving hazard mitigation. Recent research sponsored by the Joint Fire Science Program studied programs in four separate communities in the U.S. with a goal of evaluating which programs were the most practical and effective. Research began with the use of focus groups to discern levels of public understanding and acceptance of programs. This stage was followed by a targeted survey in each of the four communities. Analysis of collected data found which programs were most successful and created public willingness to achieve program goals. These results will be helpful in selecting and enacting fire hazard reduction programs in the future.