Do homeowner attitudes about wildland fires change after a major fire event?

Blog Post created by mikehazell Employee on Oct 27, 2011

Patty Champ

Patty Champ, an economist with the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, today presented on survey results on homeowner attitudes and beliefs about wildfire. The first survey was conducted in 2007; the second after the devastating 2010 Fourmile Canyon Fire that destroyed 169 structures and burned 6,179 acres in Colorado. The second survey was conducted with the same people who had participated in the 2007 survey. The results Patty shared at today’s session focused only on residents from Boulder County.

The surveys asked a broad range of questions about homeowner experiences with wildfire and specifics about the types of scenarios they thought might occur during a wildfire event. Patty said her interest in the survey results is seeing if there were significant changes in behavior or attitudes about fire. “But even after a crazy fire season in 2010,” she said, most measurements did not change significantly. She did note, however, that in the 2010 survey results, there was an increased sense of the risk of wildfire. She also said there was a statistically significant increase in the percent of surveyed homeowners who reported that they had undertaken vegetative fuels management (landscaping) initiatives to better protect their homes. 

- Mike Hazell