Public experience with wildfire and flooding: Case study of 2019 Museum Fire

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Like many communities across the western United States, the greater Flagstaff area in northern Arizona has experienced multiple wildfires in recent years that have resulted in postfire flooding. The 2019 Museum Fire provides a case study for better understanding how the cascading disturbances of wildfire and postfire flooding, which can be further compounded by adjacent disturbances  like monsoon-related flooding, impacted Flagstaff residents, and how they were informed of, perceive, and respond to these risks. In 2022, we conducted a survey in Flagstaff after 2021 flooding associated with the Museum Fire burn scar and monsoonal events to better understand attitudes “before” and “after” flooding. This resulted in findings in eight thematic areas: 1) respondent demographics; 2) geographic distribution of respondents in 2022; 3) experiences with recent flooding events; 4) communication during flood events; 4) flood risk perceptions; 6) flood insurance coverage; 7) mitigating flood risk; and 8) managing flood risk, wildfires, and forest management. This work builds upon a survey we completed in 2019 immediately following the Museum Fire that evaluated respondents’ experience with the fire and evacuation, communication of fire emergency information, and opinions regarding forest management.

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