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Wildfire risk perception and mitigation at Peavine Métis Settlement Open Access


Other title
Aboriginal, risk perception, mitigation, wildfire, firefighting, traditional burning, culture
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Christianson, Amy Nadine
Supervisor and department
McGee, Tara (Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Garvin, Theresa (Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Carroll, Matthew (Department of Natural Resource Sciences)
Parlee, Brenda (Department of Rural Economy)
Jardine, Cynthia (Cindy) (Centre for Health Promotion Studies)
McFarlane, Bonita (Bonnie) (Canadian Forest Service/ Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This research used a qualitative community-based case study to examine characteristics of Peavine Métis Settlement that have encouraged residents’ support of wildfire mitigation by the settlement. The specific objectives were to: (1) Identify wildfire risk perceptions at Peavine Métis Settlement, (2) Identify the wildfire mitigation methods used in the community, and (3)Explore how community characteristics of Peavine Métis Settlement affect local residents’ risk perceptions, and support of wildfire mitigation programs. This research makes three contributions to our understandings of wildfire risk perception and mitigation in Aboriginal communities. First, the high levels of community support for community wildfire mitigation have been influenced by four factors: local leadership, economics, community capacity, and land and home ownership. This study shows that locally-developed community wildfire mitigation programs may receive high levels of community support if programs are developed by local leaders, provide employment to community members, focus on building and using existing local capacity in the community, and take into account issues of land & home ownership (including insurance). Second, this research examines how wildfire experience affects residents’ wildfire risk perceptions and mitigation preferences. Wildfire experiences included: (1) traditional burning and firefighting experience, (2) firefighting, and (3) bystander experience. Experience was found to influence wildfire risk perception in varying ways. Wildfire risk perception did not appear to affect mitigation preferences. The three types of wildfire experiences amongst participants did appear to affect participants’ reasons for implementing certain mitigation activities. Those with traditional burning and/or firefighting experience were found to implement wildfire mitigation activities for the main reason of reducing wildfire risk. Those with bystander experience were implementing wildfire mitigation activities for reasons other than reducing wildfire risk, such as aesthetic preferences. Thirdly, this research examines culture at Peavine, and found four factors that influence residents’ wildfire risk perceptions and mitigation preferences: local knowledge, place attachment, social relationships, and norms and values. Participants supported community wildfire mitigation programs more than individual activities due to a preference for collective problem solving. Therefore, cultural aspects of an Aboriginal community have important influences on wildfire risk perception and mitigation preferences.
License granted by Amy Christianson ( on 2011-06-10T17:56:17Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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