Cost-share grant programs are often used to encourage homeowners to take action — like clearing vegetation from around their homes — to lower their property’s wildfire risk. But do these programs reach the people who face the highest risk? Are there other ways to reach those who would participate, besides offering them funding?
Researchers teamed up with the West Region Wildfire Council to answer these types of questions for one community in western Colorado. Although most people were willing to participate in cost-share programs for mitigation, those whose risk was rated higher by a professional were less likely to participate than those with lower assessed risk. For those who may decide to participate, there are factors besides money that figure significantly.
- A vast majority of homeowners are willing to take part in cost-sharing that helps pay for mitigating wildfire risks to their property.
- Potential concerns about mitigation — such as how it might change the look of a property or whether it would actually reduce wildfire risk — did not stop homeowners from saying they would participate.
- Not knowing what needs to be done on the property was almost as strong a factor on whether to participate as not having time or money.
- Some of the most at-risk homeowners were the least likely to respond to financial incentives, so wildfire program managers need to look for other ways to reach them.
Meldrum, J. R., Champ, P. A., Warziniack, T., Brenkert-Smith, H., Barth, C. M., & Falk, L. C. (2014). Cost shared wildfire risk mitigation in Log Hill Mesa, Colorado: survey evidence on participation and willingness to pay. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 23(4), 567. doi:10.1071/wf13130
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