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Modeling Evacuate versus Shelter-in-Place Decisions in Wildfires
Department of Geography, University of Utah, 260 S. Central Campus Dr., Rm 270, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
Center for Natural & Technological Hazards, University of Utah, 260 S. Central Campus Dr., Rm 270, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
Department of Psychology, University of Utah, 380 S. 1530 E., Rm 502, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 July 2011; in revised form: 16 September 2011 / Accepted: 16 September 2011 / Published: 29 September 2011
Abstract: Improving community resiliency to wildfire is a challenging problem in the face of ongoing development in fire-prone regions. Evacuation and shelter-in-place are the primary options for reducing wildfire casualties, but it can be difficult to determine which option offers the most protection in urgent scenarios. Although guidelines and policies have been proposed to inform this decision, a formal approach to evaluating protective options would help advance protective-action theory. We present an optimization model based on the premise that protecting a community can be viewed as assigning threatened households to one of three actions: evacuation, shelter-in-refuge, or shelter-in-home. While evacuation generally offers the highest level of life protection, it can place residents at greater risk when little time is available. This leads to complex trade-offs involving expected fire intensity, available time, and the quality and accessibility of in-place shelter. An application of the model is presented to illustrate a range of issues that can arise across scenarios.
Keywords: disaster planning; resiliency; decision making; evacuation; wildfire
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Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Cova, T.J.; Dennison, P.E.; Drews, F.A. Modeling Evacuate versus Shelter-in-Place Decisions in Wildfires. Sustainability 2011, 3, 1662-1687.
Cova TJ, Dennison PE, Drews FA. Modeling Evacuate versus Shelter-in-Place Decisions in Wildfires. Sustainability. 2011; 3(10):1662-1687.
Cova, Thomas J.; Dennison, Philip E.; Drews, Frank A. 2011. "Modeling Evacuate versus Shelter-in-Place Decisions in Wildfires." Sustainability 3, no. 10: 1662-1687.