Federal Forest Fire Policy in the United States


Scott L. Stephens and Lawrence W. Ruth

Artigo resumido desta publicação em: Ecological Applications, 15(2), 2005, pp. 532–542  -    https://doi.org/10.1890/04-0545

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EVEN WITH LARGE EXPENDITURES AND SUBSTANTIAL INFRASTRUCTURE dedicated to fire suppression in the United States, the annual area burned by wildfire has increased in the last decade (USDA/USDI 2000; WGA 2000; NWCG 2001) (Figure 1). Given the current and future challenges posed by wildland fire, a review and reexamination of existing policy is warranted. This paper reviews the reasons why the area burned by wildfire is increasing,and discusses strategies for responding to an increasingly dangerous and difficult problem,with implications for communities, federal land management agencies, firefighters, and society itself. 

The objective of this paper is to present specific ideas to reform and to improve U.S. f o rest fire policy and manage m e n t . To be achieved, substantive reform requires better development, dissemination, and utilization of scientifically based information to assist in the efficient formulation and implementation of policy (Franklin and Agee 2003). The ensuing discussion will develop a conceptual agenda for this policy. Finally, the paper will consider how to enable these changes, recognizing that the mixed public and governmental context, as well as the setting of the landmanagement agencies themselves with their own histories and traditions, may naturally resist policy changes.

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Fire Management, 22 (4): 57-77