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Understanding homeowner preparation and intended actions when threatened by a wildfire

Author(s): Sarah M. McCaffrey, Greg Winter
Year Published: 2011

As wildland fires affect more houses, increasing attention is being paid to how homeowners in affected areas respond to the wildfire threat. Most research on homeowner responses to wildfire has focused on actions homeowners take before a fire to mitigate their fire risk, particularly vegetation management. Less attention has been paid to homeowner response during fires, their planned course of action, and whether or not they understand which preparation and response actions contribute to or reduce the risk to their property and lives during a fire. In addition, given anecdotal evidence that homeowners do not always choose to evacuate, a better understanding of intended actions during a fire is of growing importance. This paper presents preliminary findings from a survey in California, Florida, and Montana. The survey was designed to assess homeowners' mitigation actions before a fire, their planned course of action if their property is threatened by a fire, and factors that influence homeowners' responses before and during fires. Results indicate that homeowners are taking responsibility for mitigating their property's risk and a significant proportion plan to protect their property during a fire.

Citation: McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Winter, Greg. 2011. Understanding homeowner preparation and intended actions when threatened by a wildfire. In: McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Fisher, Cherie LeBlanc, eds. Proceedings of the second conference on the human dimensions of wildland fire. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-84. Newtown Square, PA: USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station. p. 88-95.
Topic(s): Fire Communication & Education, Public Perspectives of Fire Management, Wildland Urban Interface
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Technical Report or White Paper
NRFSN number: 11138
FRAMES RCS number: 10815
Record updated: Oct 17, 2017