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Highlights • People with egalitarian cultural traits are more likely to engage in fire mitigation behaviors. • Concern, experience, and proximity all have a positive relationship to engagement in fire mitigation behaviors. • Fire-resistant building materials and landscaping requirements are effective policy tools for homeowner mitigation actions. • Younger homeowners and women are more likely to engage in fire mitigation actions. Abstract As a result of climate change and past management practices, wildfires are becoming larger and occurring more frequently than ever before in the Western U.S. In order to mitigate the effects of this growing threat, fire management agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service have encouraged residents in at-risk communities to protect their homes, property, and communities by adopting Firewise recommendations. Using a survey of wildland-urban interface (WUI) homeowners in fire-prone Deschutes County, Oregon, this study examines homeowners’ participation in Firewise activities. While the majority of survey respondents were concerned about the risk of a fire and damage to their property, engagement in pre-fire mitigation actions varied based on the level of concern, previous experience with wildfire, the presence of land use rules and policies, and close proximity to forests or rangelands. In addition, the application of cultural theory (cultural traits) to understand participation in Firewise activities revealed that respondents who have egalitarian cultural traits participate in more Firewise behaviors than those respondents who have hierarchical, individualistic and fatalist cultural traits. Fatalists participate in significantly fewer Firewise activities when compared to the other cultural traits. Results suggest that encouraging more engagement in Firewise activities requires a multi-faceted strategy employing both voluntary and compulsory actions.
Wolters EAllen. Homeowner firewise behaviors in fire-prone central Oregon: An exploration of the attitudinal, situational, and cultural worldviews impacting pre-fire mitigation actions Author links open overlay panel. Journal of Environmental Management. 2023 ;327.