Do wildfire experiences influence views on climate change?

Millar, Joanne Elaine, Boon, Helen, and King, David (2015) Do wildfire experiences influence views on climate change? International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, 7 (2). pp. 124-139.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website:


Purpose: This paper explores the influence of wildfire events on community perceptions of climate change and the risk of future wildfire disasters in southern Australia.

Design/methodology/approach: The study was located around Beechworth in northeast Victoria, where wildfires occurred in 2003 and 2009. Semi structured qualitative interviews and focus group interviews were conducted in 2010 involving 40 people from local businesses, government, and property owners.

Findings: We conclude that people's experiences of recent consecutive wildfire events did not necessarily influence their views on climate change in general or as a causal agent of wildfire events. However, there was general agreement that weather conditions had been extreme in recent times. Some attributed the increase in wildfires to factors other than climate change that were more easily observed.

Research limitations/implications: Further research is needed into the relationship between wildfire experiences, climate change views and adaptive behaviours across a wider range of social contexts. Research needs to determine if views and behaviours change over time or with frequency or severity of fires.

Practical implications: Understanding the nature of potential wildfires, and being able to prepare and respond to such events is more important than believing in climate change, since views may not change in response to fire events. Strategies need to focus on supporting people to prepare, respond and recover from wildfires regardless of their climate change perceptions.

Originality/value: There is limited research into relationships between disaster experiences and perceptions of climate change, particularly the influence of wildfire experiences.

Item ID: 38081
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1756-8706
Keywords: climate change, wild fires, perceptions, Australia
Funders: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), Queensland Government, Griffith University, Macquarie University, Queensland University of Technology, James Cook University (JCU), University of Newcastle, Murdoch University, University of Southern Queensland, University of the Sunshine Coast
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2015 01:15
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960311 Social Impacts of Climate Change and Variability @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 6
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page