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Hugh D. Walpole, Sarah M. McCaffrey, Claire Rapp, Robyn S. Wilson
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Fire Behavior
Simulation Modeling
Wildland Urban Interface

NRFSN number: 22851
FRAMES RCS number: 62582
Record updated:

A significant amount of research has examined what motivates people living in fire-prone areas to mitigate their wildfire risk (i.e. engage in activities that reduce vulnerability and the effects of a wildfire on an individual’s property). However, drawing overarching conclusions from this research is difficult because of the myriad of ways researchers have measured and analysed wildfire risk mitigation. Although recommendations exist for measuring risk-mitigation activities, no research to date has based these recommendations on an examination of how different operationalisations influence subsequent interpretations of homeowner preparedness. We addressed this gap by examining how the effects of demographics and contextual factors on preparedness differ across different ways of counting the amount of vegetation management completed. We also examined how different statistical approaches influence the results. We found that measuring vegetation management as the sum of activities completed is problematic and can obfuscate important relationships. For example, age is positively related to the proportion of applicable activities completed, but not the total number. We recommend assessing which items are applicable to respondents and constructing proportional measures rather than sums. We also recommend that, given the need for maintenance of vegetation, researchers use non-binary measures that allow respondents to indicate how much work they have undertaken towards each activity.


Walpole, Hugh; McCaffrey, Sarah; Rapp, Claire; Wilson, Robyn. 2021. Operationalising homeowner wildfire risk mitigation in fire-prone areas. International Journal of Wildland Fire 30(3):161-169.

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