Homeowner wildfire risk mitigation, community heterogeneity, and fire adaptedness: Is the whole greater than the sum of parts?

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This study found evidence of a gap between risk perceptions of WUI residents and wildfire professionals. On average, residents underestimated the overall risk of their property. One third of the study participants reported having a neighbor that they think is increasing their risk. Perceived likelihood of fire reaching the property and causing damages was positively correlated with perceiving a neighbor is not taking action. The only consistent predictor of defensible space was the level of defensible space on neighboring properties. Our results suggest that programs that are effective in getting single homeowners to mitigate risk may have benefits that spillover to neighboring properties, and risk neutral/tolerant individuals lived on parcels that were rated by the professional as having less defensible space and more ignitable structure materials.

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