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Considering Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity in fire-prone communities along Colorado’s Front Range. Hannah Brenkert-Smith University of Colorado November 2011.
University of Colorado
Community vulnerability to wildfire, both physical and social, was characterized fairly consistently within communities based on local understandings of:
Framing of response to wildfire primarily related to community-based capacity to respond to wildfire ignitions.
Do we see evidence of attitude/belief/behavioral changes that would enable recovery, planning, and action in ways that address current and future risk (aka resilience or adaptation)?
Overall increased concern about property, landscape, health, pets, public lands (significant increase in concern re: respondents’ own house, property, and pets)
Increased focus on aspects of respondents’ own properties in contributing to wildfire risk – significant increase in believing that vegetation on their property and structural characteristics of their homes contribute to the chances of wildfire damages/losses (HIZ)
Significant decrease in believing that National Forest/Park or other public land contributes to chances of wildfire damage/loss
Despite no significant change in extent to which human activity or natural starts are contributors to chances of damages/losses – these are the factors respondents indicate contribute the most.
Overall increased attention to likelihood of damage & losses (significantly more likely to believe that there will be smoke or physical damage to home or home may be destroyed, and that fire may spread to public land or neighbors’ homes may be destroyed)
Overall increase in confidence in wildfire information sources (significant increases for local VFD and county wildfire experts)
Significant decrease in confidence in technology to control wildfires once they start
We see the thumbprint of the economic downturn on respondents’ reported obstacles to take action to reduce risk (Significantly more likely to report cost, time, and physical efforts as important considerations when deciding whether or not to implement risk reduction measures than in 2007).
Despite this, we see overall increase in wildfire mitigation activity (fuel reduction and structural improvement).
How much do each of the following contribute to current wildfire danger?
(Percent reporting each item “Contributes / A Lot”)
Difference in means – Paired Sample T Test
n=298 n=296 n=299 n=304
mean diff= -.128mean diff=.074 mean diff= .221 mean diff= -.161
p=.057 p=.256 p=.002** p=.003**