Stories from wildland firefighters: What firefighters’ journals can teach us about risk, values, and decision-making.
Featuring speakers from DRI and UNR
Fire behavior is becoming more unusual and unpredictable—we know this all too well after yet another incredibly destructive fire season. On the fire line, firefighters are faced with complex moment-to-moment decisions, negotiating the tensions that can exist between protecting personal safety, private property, and shared resources. What can we learn about how firefighters assess risk and take action on the ground, and what can that teach us about decision-making in the future?
Using the stories firefighters tell, our speakers will explore the decision-making processes firefighters use on the line and uncover the values that drive those decisions. Wildland firefighters journaled in the field during the summer 2018 season and collectively submitted fifty stories via a mobile phone app.
Tamara Wall, PhD, of the Desert Research Institute (DRI), will explain what firefighters’ stories can tell us about how they characterize risk and act on it. Lynda Walsh, PhD, of the University of Nevada, Reno will discuss how decision-making in these stories can reveal community values and attitudes about risk. Together, their talks will help us understand the how and why of decision-making on the fire line and how we might better prepare for an increasingly uncertain future with fire.
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