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Thus proponents of prescribed burns have two risk communication jobs: wildfire precaution advocacy (aimed at increasing wildfire outrage) and prescribed burn outrage management (aimed at decreasing prescribed burn outrage).
Which task should be a higher priority for your agency? But typically when a precaution is controversial, the main problem for the precaution’s proponents is people’s excessive outrage about the precaution, not their insufficient outrage about the risk the precaution aims to reduce.
That leads them to overestimate the hazard of the prescribed burn, which your assessment says is actually quite low.
For many people, in other words, a prescribed burn in the hand is higher outrage than a hypo- thetical wildfire in the bush!
They are fires that are intentionally started in order to accomplish various resource management goals.
There might be a devastating fire next summer even if we do the prescribed burns.
So they’re inclined to perceive the wildfire hazard as low, even though your professional assessment of wildfire risk statistics (magnitude × probability) says the hazard is actually fairly high.
The same people may well feel considerable outrage about your prescribed burn, especially after it starts.
It seems to me we’re trying to do two things at once: high outrage/low hazard and low outrage/high hazard. No matter how many people may support the concept of prescribed fire, everyone hates a great fall day ruined by smoke in the air.
Any thoughts on how to effectively contrast a couple of days of smoke in the fall vs. Prescribed fires are also called “prescribed burns” – or sometimes “controlled burns,” though occasionally they get out of control.