Wildfire risk perception and mitigation at Peavine Métis Settlement

  • Author / Creator
    Christianson, Amy Nadine
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2011
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Parlee, Brenda (Department of Rural Economy)
    • Carroll, Matthew (Department of Natural Resource Sciences)
    • Jardine, Cynthia (Cindy) (Centre for Health Promotion Studies)
    • Garvin, Theresa (Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
    • McFarlane, Bonita (Bonnie) (Canadian Forest Service/ Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)