Should we leave now? Behavioral factors in evacuation under wildfire threat

Article


McLennan, Jim, Ryan, Barbara, Bearman, Chris and Toh, Keith. 2019. "Should we leave now? Behavioral factors in evacuation under wildfire threat." Fire Technology. 55 (2), pp. 487-516. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10694-018-0753-8
Article Title

Should we leave now? Behavioral factors in evacuation under wildfire threat

ERA Journal ID4898
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsMcLennan, Jim (Author), Ryan, Barbara (Author), Bearman, Chris (Author) and Toh, Keith (Author)
Journal TitleFire Technology
Journal Citation55 (2), pp. 487-516
Number of Pages30
Year2019
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN0015-2684
1572-8099
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s10694-018-0753-8
Web Address (URL)https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10694-018-0753-8
Abstract

Wildfires pose a serious threat to life in many countries. For police, fire and emergency services authorities in most jurisdictions in North America and Australia evacuation is now the option that is preferred overwhelmingly. Wildfire evacuation modeling can assist authorities in planning evacuation responses to future threats. Understanding residents' behavior under wildfire threat may assist in wildfire evacuation modeling. This paper reviews North American and Australian research into wildfire evacuation behavior published between January 2005 and June 2017. Wildfire evacuation policies differ across the two regions: in North America mandatory evacuations are favored, in Australia most are advisory. Research from both regions indicates that following a wildfire evacuation warning some threatened residents will wish to remain on their property in order to protect it, many will delay evacuating, and some residents who are not on their property when an evacuation warning is issued may seek to return. Mandatory evacuation is likely to result in greater compliance, enforcement policies are also likely to be influential. Self-delayed evacuation is likely if warnings are not sufficiently informative: residents are likely to engage in information search rather than initiating evacuation actions. The wildfire warning and threat histories of a location may influence residents' decisions and actions. The complexities of behavioral factors influencing residents' actions following an evacuation warning pose challenges for wildfire evacuation modeling. Suggestions are offered for ways in which authorities might reduce the numbers of residents who delay evacuating following a wildfire warning.

Keywordswildfire, bushfire, evacuation, delay, behaviour, modeling, Australia, Canada, United States
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020470199. Communication and media studies not elsewhere classified
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Byline AffiliationsLa Trobe University
School of Arts and Communication
Central Queensland University
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)
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