Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (262 KB)

Title: Trying not to get burned: Understanding homeowners' wildfire risk-mitigation behaviors

Author: Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Champ, Patricia A.; Flores, Nicholas;

Date: 2012

Source: Environmental Management. 50: 1139-1151.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Three causes have been identified for the spiraling cost of wildfire suppression in the United States: climate change, fuel accumulation from past wildfire suppression, and development in fire-prone areas. Because little is likely to be performed to halt the effects of climate on wildfire risk, and because fuel-management budgets cannot keep pace with fuel accumulation let alone reverse it, changing the behaviors of existing and potential homeowners in fire-prone areas is the most promising approach to decreasing the cost of suppressing wildfires in the wildland-urban interface and increasing the odds of homes surviving wildfire events. Wildfire education efforts encourage homeowners to manage their property to decrease wildfire risk. Such programs may be more effective with a better understanding of the factors related to homeowners' decisions to undertake wildfire risk-reduction actions. In this study, we measured whether homeowners had implemented 12 wildfire risk-mitigation measures in 2 Colorado Front Range counties. We found that wildfire information received from local volunteer fire departments and county wildfire specialists, as well as talking with neighbors about wildfire, were positively associated with higher levels of mitigation. Firsthand experience in the form of preparing for or undertaking an evacuation was also associated with a higher level of mitigation. Finally, homeowners who perceived higher levels of wildfire risk on their property had undertaken higher levels of wildfire-risk mitigation on their property.

Keywords: risk-reduction behaviors, wildfire risk, homeowner behavior, wildland-urban interface, survey

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Champ, Patricia A.; Flores, Nicholas. 2012. Trying not to get burned: Understanding homeowners' wildfire risk-mitigation behaviors. Environmental Management. 50: 1139-1151.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.