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Living with bushfires on the urban-bush interface

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-09-13, 05:36 authored by Kubra Koksal, James McLennanJames McLennan, Christopher Bearman
Due to the attractiveness of living in a natural environment, more people are likely to reside in urban-bush interface areas that expose them to dangers from bushfires. Surveys conducted after fires over 2009-2015, indicated that many residents in urban-bush interface areas under-estimate their bushfire risk and do not prepare adequately for these events. For this study, householders living in urban-bush interface areas of Melbourne completed an online survey that showed that the attractiveness of the natural environment setting was the major reason for living in the location. The majority of respondents indicated bushfires as a negative feature of living in the urban-bush-interface. Compared with findings from post-bushfire surveys during 2009-2015, a greater number of respondents had a bushfire survival plan to evacuate as well as being prepared to evacuate if threatened. However, one in eight householders planned to 'wait and see' how a fire developed before taking action. Also, levels of activities to reduce house vulnerability to bushfire were low. For some householders, this was because they believed such preparations would be ineffective and, thus, pointless. This unpreparedness presents challenges to emergency management organisations and, in particular, fire agencies.


The research was supported by a La Trobe University School of Psychology and Public Health student research grant and by funding from the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre.


Publication Date



Australian Journal of Emergency Management






8p. (p. 21-28)


Australian Emergency Management Institute



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