Bushfire resilience and bushfire behaviour

Bushfire resilience and bushfire behaviour
Author/editor: Biddle, N & Boyer, C
Year published: 2021


This paper is the first published output from a project considering the behavioural responses to these multiple crises (drought; bushfire; pandemic). The aim of this paper was to identify and summarise the existing literature on the behavioural responses to crises in general, and to bushfires in Australian in particular, as well as summarise analysis of new data on community functioning and bushfire-related behaviour. A key insight from the literature is the repeated gap, across a range of situations, between a person’s stated intentions and the actions that they end up taking. A key driver of this intention-action gap is the very high discount rate people apply to the future, as well as the power of defaults. A second key finding from the literature is the importance of clear, well researched, impactful communication. This includes the information that is being presented, how the information is presented, as well as the trust in those who are communicating the message. A final key finding from the analysis in this paper and supported by the literature is the importance of the community functioning or resilience prior to a fire event and during the recovery stage. Investments in community functioning and resilience, even if they ostensibly have no direct relationship to bushfires, can in and of themselves reduce the incidence/costs of fires and perhaps more importantly increase the returns to other investments.

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