Wildland fires can be catastrophic for forests but also for homeowners and their property. Fires are often caused by natural factors, but by far, the largest cause of wildfires is man-related. Learning about wildfire prevention and what you can do to help will reduce the number of fires. Preventing forest fires is everyone’s responsibility! The Northeast Forest Fire Protection Commission's Prevention and Education Working Team (PEWT) offers several ways to take part. See the Prevention section for more information.
WHAT FIRE PREVENTION EDUCATION TEAMS (FPET) DO AND HOW THE WORK THAT IS
WHAT FIRE PREVENTION EDUCATION TEAMS (FPET) DO AND HOW THE WORK THAT IS ACCOMPLISHED MATTERS
The important historical role FPETs have played in prevention is not in question. The Smokey Bear campaigns were, and still are, popular and successful. However, in order to be successful in the future, a change in approach by FPETs should be considered. At its best, fire prevention is human behavior modification. Direct human interaction with fire, or with something that can create fire, is changed in a manner so that wildfires are averted. Social dynamics are a critical part of all fire management activities. No matter how ecologically and technically sound and well planned a management activity (prevention, in this case) is, its ultimate effectiveness will be highly dependent on social factors related to the effort, including acceptance of the activity and its potential effect on a range of social values. As the societal impacts of wildfires grow, the active involvement of all stakeholders in fire management will be central to successful efforts to reduce the risk. Understanding relevant beliefs and expectations, of the landscape and of land management agencies, will be critical information for local managers and FPETs to develop effective prevention programs. In addition, understanding how internal factors interact with external social factors will be critical to improving outcomes. Simply put, now is the time to apply science to prevention programs. Continuing to do what we have done in the past will not translate to future prevention success.
(Source: White Mountain National Forest Fire Prevention Education Team’s 2020 closeout report)