Virtual Wildfire Series Keynote: Sarah McCaffrey

Tue June 30th 2020, 2:30pm
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Virtual Wildfire Series Keynote: Sarah McCaffrey

This keynote will highlight aspects of US Forest Service research that examines wildfire risk perceptions, incentives for creation and maintenance of defensible space, and key factors to consider in preparing for wildfire given the double threats of wildfires and COVID-19.

About Sarah McCaffrey

Current Research: Dr. McCaffrey's current research focuses on broader social pieces of the fire management system including how stakeholders conceive of becoming a fire adapted community and barriers to increased use of fire as a management tool,  both prescribed fire and managing wildfires for resource benefits.  She has also begun work with a colleague to assess how social media can provide insight into various aspects of fire management, including whether tweets related to wildfire smoke can serve as reasonable proxy for air quality and how media portrayal of fire management varies  overtime and between coutnires (US, Canada and Australia).

Dr. McCaffrey's research focuses on understanding a wide range of the social aspects of fire management.   A particular emphasis of her research is working with managers to: 1)  identify areas where existing research could provide insight as well as where more research is needed, and 2) synthesizing and communicating relevant research findings.

Past research has included projects examining wildfire risk perception, incentives for creation and maintenance of defensible space, social acceptability of prescribed fire and thinning, and characteristics of effective communication efforts.  She hasalso initiated work examining social issues that occur during and after fires including evacuation decision making, agency-community interaction during fires, and long-term health impacts of experiencing a fire.   This has included work interviewing emergency responders and residents after wildfires in the U.S. as well as work in Australia where I assisted the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre with their post-fire data collection following the February 7th 2009 bushfires. Her PhD research examined homeowner beliefs and actions in relation to defensible space and fuels management in Incline Village, Nevada. 


This event is made possible by the generosity of Tom and Mary DeMund.

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