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Trust is a Must: What is Involved in Trusting Those Who Manage Forest Fires?

This article is from Issue Wildland Fire 2 - Vol. 13 No. 1.

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The scientists in this study were interested in learning more about trust. They believed that forest managers can do a better job if people trust them to do what is best for citizens and the environment The scientists wanted to know how much citizens trust forest managers to make good decisions about wildland fires on their behalf.

Welcome to the Wildland Fire 2 edition!

Note to Educators

Journal Lesson Plan 1

Journal Lesson Plan 2


Who or What Am I?

Reflection Section Answer Guide

Additional Resources for this Article:
Meet the scientists that contributed to this article:

"Science Topics" covered in this article:
  • Life Science
  • People and Science

"Thinking About Science Themes" covered in this article:
Scientists can study just about anything. In the Natural Inquirer, the topics studied are always concerned with the natural environment. Most of them involve studying plants, animals, water, weather, or other natural topics. Some topics, however, involve people’s relationships with each other and with the natural environment. These topics and others like them are studied by social scientists. In this study, the social scientists wondered about trust. What is trust? If you trust someone, why do you do so? The scientists wondered how much trust some citizens in Montana have in those who are making decisions about wildland fire. When social scientists develop questions to study, these questions always involve human beliefs, attitudes, values, or actions.
Specific "Thinking About Science" Themes:
  • Scientific Topics
  • Uses and Benefits of Science

"Thinking About Environmental Themes" covered in this article:
The United States contains millions of acres of public land. Public land is land that is owned by all of the citizens of a government. At the Federal level, public land includes national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and other types of land. These lands are managed by Government employees on behalf of citizens. Some Government employees make decisions about managing wildland fires on public land. In some places, wildland fires could threaten homes and businesses. This is because in these areas, people’s homes and businesses are located close to public land. In many places, however, fire is a natural part of nature and provides many benefits to the land, the animals, and the plants there. When people trust Government employees to manage public land in the best interest of the land and the people, the Government employees can do a better job for people and the environment.
Specific "Thinking About the Environment" Themes:
  • Benefit of natural resources to local economy
  • Wildland Fire

NSE Standards covered in this article:
  • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry (A)
  • Natural hazards (F)
  • Risks and benefits (F)
  • Science and technology in society (F)
  • Science as a human endeavor (G)
  • Understandings about science and technology (E)
  • Understandings about scientific inquiry (A)