Prescribed Burn Risk Communication Project

image of prescribed burn

Enhancing Communication to Reduce Health Risks of Wildland Fire Smoke Exposure From Prescribed Burns 

This project will address a key gap in wildland fire management with regards to effective and targeted risk communication during prescribed burn events. While prescribed burning is an essential land management tool, there is limited knowledge about health risk communication regarding wildland fire smoke that is emitted by the activity. Additionally, evidence suggests that wildland fire management agencies are uncertain about how to effectively communicate about potential health risks of wildland fire smoke to the public.

To address this gap, our proposed research approach includes the utilization of robust and innovative qualitative and quantitative methods to conduct formative research on health risk communication messaging, materials, and mechanisms related to prescribed burn events, which will inform the development and dissemination of a Risk Communication Toolkit, followed by an evaluation of improvements in institutional capacity to effectively plan for and conduct health risk communication in communities surrounding prescribed burn events. The study objectives are to: 

1. Understand the barriers and facilitators that institutions face in conducting risk communication with surrounding community members during prescribed burn events. 

2. Collate best practices in risk communication that may be applied to prescribed burn events. 

3. Facilitate uptake of risk communication messaging and materials that best meet the needs of community and institutional stakeholders.

The project is currently in the first of three phases, as shown in the graphic below.

Project Faculty and Staff

The project is a partnership between The Ohio State College of Public Health, Battelle, and the University of Georgia.

For more information about this USEPA project, click here.