Publication Date


Document Type



Environmental Studies

Publication Title

International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction






Understanding residents' intended evacuation behaviors is an increasingly important component of managing complex wildfire events in the United States and elsewhere. Growing evidence suggests that local populations consider a range of potential evacuation behaviors during fire events, yet fewer efforts explore rural residents' evacuation intentions or their relationship to wildfire mitigations that reduce risk or aid in fire suppression. This study explores evacuation intentions among wildland-urban interface residents in Pend Oreille County, Washington, USA. We explore how mitigation performance (e.g., fuel reduction efforts, structure improvements, active firefighting preparation) differs across three emergent categories of evacuation intentions and evaluate whether a range of factors correlate with participants’ evacuation intentions. Our results suggest that a relatively high proportion of residents in the study area intend to stay and defend their property from a wildfire, with smaller proportions intending to evacuate or shelter in place. Individuals who intend to stay and defend are more likely to implement fuel reduction and property mitigation strategies when compared to those intending to evacuate or shelter in place. We found that elements of residency status, sex, age, presence of children in the home, and perceptions of personal efficacy and whether the property was prepared enough to not need firefighting were significant influences on group affiliation. For instance, part-time residency was significantly correlated with intending to evacuate, while full-time residents were more likely to stay and defend. Greater agreement that firefighting was not needed because a property was well-prepared was significantly related to staying and defending over evacuating.

Funding Number

Hazard SEES 1520873

Funding Sponsor

National Science Foundation


Evacuation, Wildfire, Alternatives to evacuation, Home ignition zone, Mitigation


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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.