Building community-agency trust in fire-affected communities in Australia and the United States

Christine S. Olsen, Emily Sharp

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    25 Citations (Scopus)
    24 Downloads (Pure)


    As a result of the increasing environmental and social costs of wildfire, fire management agencies face ever-growing complexity in their management decisions and interactions with the public. The success of these interactions with community members may be facilitated through building community-agency trust in the process of providing public input opportunities and community engagement and education activities. Without trust, the public may become frustrated in their interactions with the agency and withhold support for management decisions. This study takes a comparative case approach using interview data from communities near the King Valley fires in Victoria, Australia, and the Bear & Booth Complex fires in Oregon, USA. Several themes emerge that are common to both sites, including components of trustworthiness and actions or activities that contribute to a trusting relationship or environment. Key findings suggest trust and trustworthiness can be addressed interpersonally and institutionally and that flexible policies are important for implementation of locally appropriate outreach and management plans.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)822-831
    Number of pages10
    JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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