Are we ready for bushfire? Perceptions of residents, landowners and fire authorities on Lower Eyre Peninsula, South Australia

D. Weber, E. Moskwa, G. M. Robinson, D. K. Bardsley, J. Arnold, M. A. Davenport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Housing developments on the peri-urban fringe of Australian towns and cities create complexities for bushfire management due to the intermingling of natural, rural and urban spaces. To address the risk of bushfire, policies and practices have promoted and encouraged landowner responsibility for bushfire mitigation actions and behaviours. Using a postal survey, interviews and focus groups, we examine perceptions and actions regarding bushfire preparedness from the viewpoints of individual residents, landowners, and the local fire and environmental authorities on the Lower Eyre Peninsula of South Australia. Respondents living on larger sized allotments were more likely to perceive that their property was vulnerable to bushfire than those living on residential-sized allotments. Larger holdings tend to have more fire-susceptible vegetation than the smaller properties located in fringe suburbs, which seems to confer to those latter residents a sense of greater safety from bushfires. On the other hand, residents on larger blocks reported higher levels of bushfire management knowledge and expressed stronger connections to the place where they live, which influenced their willingness to work to mitigate bushfire risk. Importantly, there is a disconnection between such individual landholder preparedness for bushfire and that of the broader community. Individual actions often do not translate into collective responses, suggesting that a greater sense of shared responsibility will need to develop to enable effective mitigation of regional bushfire risk at a regional scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-112
Number of pages14
JournalGeoforum
Volume107
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2019

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Bushfires
  • Communities
  • Fire management
  • Peri-urban fringe
  • Risk mitigation
  • South Australia

Cite this