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Open AccessArticle

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

1
Fort Collins Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA
2
Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
3
Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA
4
West Region Wildfire Council, Montrose, CO 81401, USA
5
Fire and Aviation Management, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Billings, MT 59101, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 June 2019 / Revised: 3 August 2019 / Accepted: 5 August 2019 / Published: 12 August 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: wildland fire; risk assessment; parcel-level risk; scale; mitigation; simultaneous modeling; home ignition zone wildland fire; risk assessment; parcel-level risk; scale; mitigation; simultaneous modeling; home ignition zone
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MDPI and ACS Style

Meldrum, J.R.; Brenkert-Smith, H.; Champ, P.; Gomez, J.; Falk, L.; Barth, C. Interactions between Resident Risk Perceptions and Wildfire Risk Mitigation: Evidence from Simultaneous Equations Modeling. Fire 2019, 2, 46.

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