The study examined aspects of decision making which distinguish between those who stay and defend their property and those who leave for an assumed safer location when a community comes under imminent threat from a severe wildfire. The data were obtained from field interviews with 49 survivors of the Murrindindi wildfire (Victoria, Australia, 7 February 2009) which killed 38 people and destroyed the small township of Marysville. Uncertainty about the level of threat was a major feature of the decision making context in the period immediately preceding the impact of the fire. The majority of those who stayed and defended did so because they were committed to this plan of action. For most of those who left, the action of leaving was triggered by realisation of the severe threat posed by the intensity or location of the fire.
Open Access. The accepted version of this work has been reproduced here according to the publisher's polices.
This is the author's version of a work that was accepted for publication in International journal of wildland fire, 21(7): 915-925 2012, the published version is available from CSIRO Publishing at http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF11061 (Please note: access via this link may only be available with a subscription).
Copyright (2012) CSIRO Publishing
International journal of wildland fire, 21(7): 915-925