Title page for ETD etd-07282004-125446

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Grau, Amanda Lynn
Author's Email Address agrau@vt.edu
URN etd-07282004-125446
Title Wildfire Messages and Meanings in the Wildland-Urban Interface
Degree Master of Science
Department Forestry
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Buhyoff, Gregory J. Committee Co-Chair
Hull, Robert Bruce IV Committee Co-Chair
Larkin, Kevin W. Committee Member
Rich, Richard C. Committee Member
  • wildland-urban interface
  • meaning
  • identity
  • wildfire
  • risk
Date of Defense 2004-07-12
Availability restricted
Wildfire can be an extremely destructive force, especially when it reaches our nation's ever-increasing wildland-urban interface (WUI) area. To address this issue, state and federal agencies and cooperative education programs have begun to promote homeowner responsibility and wildfire vulnerability minimization practices as a means for WUI residents to take a proactive approach to protecting their homes from wildfire. This research provides resource managers with a new understanding of the processes through which WUI residents receive, interpret, and reconstruct wildfire messages, which will allow them to better assess their wildfire education programs. Results from this study suggest that WUI residents negotiate meanings for wildfire messages by externalizing and/or internalizing the hazard and its solution, and that these interpretations are strongly related to residents' behavioral response. This study also reveals significant discrepancies between WUI residents' central values and program goals; whereas fire programs generally highlight risk to homes and structures in the WUI, residents were typically far more concerned with their homes' contents and the environments within which their homes are situated. The insights provided by this study will increase program managers' ability to remedy these discrepancies and improve the effectiveness of wildfire vulnerability minimization programs and messages.
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