Is staying home the safest option during wildfire? Historical evidence for an Australian approach

Handmer, John W. and Tibbits, A. (2005) Is staying home the safest option during wildfire? Historical evidence for an Australian approach. Global Environmental Change Part B: Environmental Hazards, 6 . pp. 81-91. ISSN 1464-2867

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Australian bushfire agencies have a position that people in the path of a fire should either prepare, stay and defend their properties, or leave the area well before the fire front arrives. The position is based largely on observations that evacuating at the last minute is often fatal and that, generally, a key factor in house survival during a wildfire is the presence of people in the building. In practice, full implementation of the position has been difficult for a range of reasons. As part of the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) research effort, our project is examining the evidence base for this position and aims to suggest ways of improving implementation. We have found that the available evidence, which goes back some 60 yr, strongly supports the Australian position. The position is supported on the grounds of both improved safety and reduced property loss. The evidence also shows that the most dangerous option—and the cause of most fatalities—is last minute evacuation.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Science and Technology > Flood Hazard Research Centre
Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Health and Education
ID Code:250
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Deposited On:30 Oct 2008 15:03
Last Modified:27 Oct 2014 11:47

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