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Modeling Evacuate versus Shelter-in-Place Decisions in Wildfires

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  • Thomas J. Cova

    ()
    (Department of Geography, University of Utah, 260 S. Central Campus Dr., Rm 270, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
    Center for Natural & Technological Hazards, University of Utah, 260 S. Central Campus Dr., Rm 270, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA)

  • Philip E. Dennison

    ()
    (Department of Geography, University of Utah, 260 S. Central Campus Dr., Rm 270, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
    Center for Natural & Technological Hazards, University of Utah, 260 S. Central Campus Dr., Rm 270, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA)

  • Frank A. Drews

    ()
    (Center for Natural & Technological Hazards, University of Utah, 260 S. Central Campus Dr., Rm 270, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
    Department of Psychology, University of Utah, 380 S. 1530 E., Rm 502, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA)

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    Abstract

    Improving community resiliency to wildfire is a challenging problem in the face of ongoing development in fire-prone regions. Evacuation and shelter-in-place are the primary options for reducing wildfire casualties, but it can be difficult to determine which option offers the most protection in urgent scenarios. Although guidelines and policies have been proposed to inform this decision, a formal approach to evaluating protective options would help advance protective-action theory. We present an optimization model based on the premise that protecting a community can be viewed as assigning threatened households to one of three actions: evacuation, shelter-in-refuge, or shelter-in-home. While evacuation generally offers the highest level of life protection, it can place residents at greater risk when little time is available. This leads to complex trade-offs involving expected fire intensity, available time, and the quality and accessibility of in-place shelter. An application of the model is presented to illustrate a range of issues that can arise across scenarios.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 10 (September)
    Pages: 1662-1687

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:10:p:1662-1687:d:14205

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    Related research

    Keywords: disaster planning; resiliency; decision making; evacuation; wildfire;

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    1. Shafran, Aric P., 2008. "Risk externalities and the problem of wildfire risk," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 488-495, September.
    2. Stepanov, Alexander & Smith, James MacGregor, 2009. "Multi-objective evacuation routing in transportation networks," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 198(2), pages 435-446, October.
    3. Altay, Nezih & Green III, Walter G., 2006. "OR/MS research in disaster operations management," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 175(1), pages 475-493, November.
    4. Sherali, Hanif D. & Carter, Todd B. & Hobeika, Antoine G., 1991. "A location-allocation model and algorithm for evacuation planning under hurricane/flood conditions," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 439-452, December.
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