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Wildfire-migration dynamics: Lessons from Colorado's Fourmile Canyon Fire

Nawrotzki, Raphael J.; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Hunter, Lori M.; Champ, Patricia A. 2013. Wildfire-migration dynamics: Lessons from Colorado's Fourmile Canyon Fire. Society and Natural Resources. doi: 10.1080/08941920.2013.842275.

The number of people living in wildfire-prone wildland-urban interface (WUI) communities is on the rise. However, no prior study has investigated wildfire-induced residential relocation from WUI areas after a major fire event. To provide insight into the association between sociodemographic and sociopsychological characteristics and wildfire-related intention to move, we use data from a survey of WUI residents in Boulder and Larimer counties, Colorado. The data were collected 2 months after the devastating Fourmile Canyon fire destroyed 169 homes and burned more than 6,000 acres of public and private land. Although this study is working with a small migrant sample, logistic regression models demonstrate that survey respondents intending to move in relation to wildfire incidence do not differ sociodemographically from their nonmigrant counterparts. They do, however, show significantly higher levels of risk perception. Investigating destination choices shows a preference for short-distance moves.

Keywords: Boulder County, Colorado, disaster, Fourmile Canyon fire, migration, natural hazards, residential relocation, risk perception, wildfire, wildland­urban interface (WUI)

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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Wildfire-migration dynamics: Lessons from Colorado's Fourmile Canyon Fire
Electronic Publish Date: December 4, 2013
Last Update:
December 4, 2013

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