A JFSP Fire Science Exchange Network
Bringing People Together & Sharing Knowledge in the Northern Rockies

Interactions between Resident Risk Perceptions and Wildfire Risk Mitigation: Evidence from Simultaneous Equations Modeling

Author(s): James R. Meldrum, Hannah Brenkert-Smith, Patricia A. Champ, Jamie Gomez, Lilia C. Falk, Christopher M. Barth
Year Published: 2019

Fire science emphasizes that mitigation actions on residential property, including structural hardening and maintaining defensible space, can reduce the risk of wildfire at a home. Accordingly, a rich body of social science literature investigates the determinants of wildfire risk mitigation behaviors of residents living in fire-prone areas. Here, we investigate relationships among wildfire hazards, residents' risk perceptions, and conditions associated with mitigation actions using a combination of simulated wildfire conditions, household survey responses, and professionally assessed parcel characteristic data. We estimate a simultaneous model of these data that accounts for potential direct feedbacks between risk perceptions and parcel-level conditions. We also compare the use of self-reported versus assessed parcel-level data for estimating these relationships. Our analysis relies on paired survey and assessment data for approximately 2000 homes in western Colorado. Our simultaneous model demonstrates dual-directional interactions between risk perceptions and conditions associated with mitigation actions, with important implications for inference from simpler approaches. In addition to improving general understanding of decision-making about risk and natural hazards, our findings can support the effectiveness of publicly supported programs intended to encourage mitigation to reduce society’s overall wildfire risk.

Citation: Meldrum, James R.; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Champ, Patricia A.; Gomez, Jamie; Falk, Lilia C.; Barth, Christopher M. 2019. Interactions between resident risk perceptions and wildfire risk mitigation: evidence from simultaneous equations modeling. Fire 2(3):46.
Topic(s): Risk, Risk assessment, Wildland Urban Interface
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 20003
FRAMES RCS number: 58487
Record updated: Sep 18, 2019