Wildifre papers Human dimensions of fire management at the wildland-urban interface in Alberta: A summary report (PDF) By Tara K. McGee, Bonita L. McFarlane, Lauren Harris and Hilary Faulkner November 2009 ICLR research paper series – number 46 ISBN: 978-0-9784841-2-5
This report presents the results of two studies that were undertaken to examine wildfire risk mitigation at the wildland-urban interface in Alberta, Canada. One study examined homeowner adoption of mitigation measures and factors that influence adoption in six communities. A mail survey was used to collect data from 1265 homeowners. Results showed that respondents had completed many of the recommended mitigation activities. Respondents perceived the risk to their properties as moderate, they viewed recommended mitigation measures an effective way to reduce the risk, and most respondents perceived homeowners themselves as being responsible for mitigating wildfire risk on their properties. The most common constraints to completing recommended mitigation measures included the cost of mitigation, not having enough information to complete recommended activities, a belief that family and neighbors would not like the result, not having the necessary skills, and not being able to complete some activities for physical reasons. The second study examined adoption of wildfire risk management programs by 18 municipal governments in Alberta. Data were collected using two methods: A survey with mayors or reeves, fire chiefs (or their deputy), planners, chief administrative officers, councilors and directors of emergency and disaster services; and interviews with municipal government contacts and other stakeholders involved in wildfire risk management. Results showed that activities carried out by local governments included: Emergency preparedness planning; infrastructure measures; providing information; wildfire hazard assessments on public and private land; vegetation management; land use planning; and structural mitigation measures on local government buildings. A six stage process was identified for the implementation of municipal wildfire management initiatives. Factors influencing the process included communication with internal and external stakeholders, adequate financial and human resources and community characteristics such as terrain, size of the municipality, isolation and population growth. Implications for policies and programs are discussed.