Human dimensions of fire management at the wildland urban interface
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Most fire management research in Canada and elsewhere has concentrated on the biophysical aspects of fire such as fire ecology, fire behavior, and prediction of fire events. More recently, social aspects related to fire management (such as the economic viability of fire-suppression policies, public acceptance of prescribed burning, health risks associated with smoke, risk to nontimber values, and risk to private property and human life at the wildland–urban interface [WUI]) have become dominant issues in fire management. However, research on the human dimensions of wildfires is lacking in Canada. Insights from a collaborative effort between the Social Science Research Group and the University of Alberta will contribute to the development of wildfire preparedness and mitigation within Canadian households and communities at the WUI. The long-term objectives of this project are to examine WUI homeowners’ attitudes toward fire, their perception of the risk associated with wildfire, the acceptability of that risk, their knowledge of fire and fire mitigation measures, their preferences for fire management, and their willingness to engage in fire mitigation activities; to identify factors that influence homeowners’ engagement in mitigation activities; to examine differences among individuals residing in communities with various fire histories and wildfire mitigation; and to examine the influence of municipal governments and other relevant agencies on wildfire mitigation and preparedness at the community and individual levels.
Foothills Model Forest, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, CFS–NSERC–SSHRC Forest Research Partnership Program (Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, ATCO Electric, Canadian Forest Service, Social Science and Humanities Research Council)