Wildfire evacuation and its alternatives

Posted: March 16, 2017

What factors do emergency managers and homeowners consider for alternatives to mass evacuation from wildfire? A recent study looked at four communities in California, Montana and New Mexico where emergency services agencies and homeowners had welcomed other evacuation approaches.

wildfire evacuation

Research takeaways

Source: Wildfire evacuation and its alternatives: Perspectives from four United States’ communities. International Journal of Wildland Fire. Vol 24 (2) (2015)

Background information on this issue

Mandatory evacuation of homeowners is the preferred course of action for most communities in the United States when threatened by wildfire. This traditional mass evacuation approach places primary importance on safety and the removal of uncertainty for emergency services personnel.

In other parts of the world however, such as in Australia, alternatives like stay-and-defend have gained acceptance as viable approaches under certain conditions — especially when homeowners have taken steps to make their property defensible should they elect to stay. In the United States, emergency managers and the research community are now discussing alternatives and considering the pros and cons of both mandatory evacuations and alternative approaches.

Findings from previous research studies

Learn more about this research

This research article on wildfire evacuation and its alternatives is available through our library by contacting netclrc@fema.dhs.gov. Interested readers may also be able to access the article through their local library or through the publisher’s website.

This summary is for informational purposes only. More +
As such, the content does not reflect any official positions, policies, or guidelines on behalf of the sender, the U.S. Fire Administration, FEMA, DHS, nor any other federal agencies, departments or contracting entities. Similarly, this summary does not represent in any manner an official endorsement or relationship to any private or public companies, organizations/associations, or any authors or individuals cited or websites associated within the article.

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