Perceptions of wildfire and wildfire management on Guam

View across a green hill with dark patches of burn scars and blue, tropical ocean in the background.
Fires scar much of the land across Guam, opening up the landscape for invasive, more fire-prone grasses. (Photo: Christine Fejeran)

Though wildfire is an understood phenomenon on Guam, public perceptions of wildfire and wildfire management have not been studied. Situated 13.44° North of the equator in the Western Pacific, Guam has a humid tropical climate where naturally occurring wildfires do not occur. Yet, Guam experiences hundreds of fires annually that damage much of its small 210 square miles. To confront this dilemma and work effectively with their communities, resource managers would greatly benefit from understanding how wildfire is perceived by the local communities.

Specifically, this study is investigating what residents think causes wildfire as well as who residents believe fight these fires, breaking results down based on respondents’ age and village of residence on island. To elicit this information, the researchers are using surveys of closed-ended questions and key informant interviews. To date, there have been 189 responses to surveys, which show that only 30% of residents of Guam correctly know that wildfire on Guam is 100% human-caused.





Christine Fejeran
Chief Forester, Guam Forestry Division


Farron Taijeron
Dept. of Sustainable Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, University of Guam


Abby Frazier
Clark University