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Northern Research Station
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 557-4017
(610) 557-4132 TTY/TDD

People and Fire


The Northern Research Station has realigned our staff from 37 Research Work Units and Programs into 14 new Research Work Units.

RWU-4902 is now part of NRS-9, People and Their Environments: Social Science Supporting Natural Resource Management and Policy.

[photo:]  Two lakefront houses surrounded by forest fire. Catastrophic wildland fires are on the rise in the United States. At the same time, more people are settling in fire-prone areas. This places more people and homes at risk, and complicates fire management efforts, both in terms of fighting fires and working to reduce hazards before fires begin. However, fire is also a natural phenomenon that can play an important role in maintaining and restoring healthy ecosystems. As more people are drawn to live in scenic wooded areas, determining how fire and communities can best co-exist is an increasing concern.

We focus on the human dimension of fire management to help devise practices and policies that will be most successful in protecting people, property and natural ecosystems. Fire management involves constant interaction with people, often under trying circumstances. Our scientists study people’s perceptions of wildland fires and of fire management practices, which often vary from region to region. We also look at human settlement patterns across the U.S. to help managers plan for fire-management needs.

We provide insights, knowledge and tools for fire managers to improve their success in dealing with people. This helps guide fire-management policies and helps managers determine where to most effectively target their resources for fuels management.

Our efforts are concentrated in four study areas:

Research Summary

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Last Modified: 12/21/2007