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Island vulnerability and resilience to wildfires: A case study of Corsica

Island vulnerability and resilience to wildfires: A case study of Corsica

Vaiciulyte, Sandra, Galea, Edwin R. ORCID: 0000-0002-0001-6665, Veeraswamy, Anand and Hulse, Lynn M. ORCID: 0000-0001-5582-3520 (2019) Island vulnerability and resilience to wildfires: A case study of Corsica. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 40:101272. ISSN 2212-4209 (Print), 2212-4209 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2019.101272)

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Abstract

The number of wildfires occurring globally is exacerbated by urbanisation and changes in weather patterns. In response, researchers have conducted studies of wildfires and human behaviour in regions such as Australia and the USA. Regions in Europe have received less attention, despite facing the same issues. Even more overlooked are one particular type of territory: islands. With their climates, islands across the Mediterranean remain attractive second home and tourist destinations, resulting in urban development. Yet due to certain features (e.g. cultural, socio-political, geographical), the ways in which their people deal with wildfires may differ somewhat from that in some mainland territories. This paper explores human behaviour in wildfire emergencies in the context of island vulnerability and resilience in Europe, with the Mediterranean island of Corsica as a case study. Qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews (n = 8) with Corsican professionals involved in wildfire management and quantitative analysis of around 100 surveys from civilians was conducted. This analysis revealed that Corsica’s population approach to wildfire safety is shaped by available information as well as a strong risk culture, which stands in contrast with new/temporary residents moving into the island each summer season. The results drawn from the analysed sample suggest potential social vulnerability in wildfires when a decision to evacuate the population is taken by emergency managers as the most effective emergency response. Population behaviour were not influenced by property attachment, perceived risk, hazard knowledge, community closeness and locus of control, suggesting that island WUI resident characteristics may not be generalised from human behaviour in wildfires studies carried out in the USA or Australia.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: forest fire, wildfire, human behaviour, Corsica, island resilience, wildland-urban interface
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities
Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities > Centre for Numerical Modelling & Process Analysis (CNMPA)
Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities > Centre for Numerical Modelling & Process Analysis (CNMPA) > Fire Safety Engineering Group (FSEG)
Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities > Department of Mathematical Sciences
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2019 11:01
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/24970

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