Understanding homeowners’ decisions to mitigate wildfire risk and create defensible space

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This article analyses homeowners’ decisions to undertake fire-safe investments and create defensible space on their property using a unique dataset from 35 wildland–urban interface communities in Nevada. The dataset combines homeowner information from a mail survey with their observed fire-safe investments obtained through parcel-level hazard assessments. We find that homeowners’ self-reported mitigation expenditures are driven by their subjective beliefs about their wildfire risk, whereas observed defensible space status is driven by their costs of investment. We develop a theoretical model of a homeowner’s fire-safe investment decision that accounts for our empirical results.

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