Charlene Burns & Jacob Graham

An important consideration for government and wildfire management officials is understanding the factors that influence individuals’ perceptions of risk and risk management responsibility and their risk mitigation behaviors. An understudied factor is that of the social, cultural, and political environments in which individuals live. This study explores how the unique social, cultural, and political environments in the Alaskan Arctic influence individuals’ perceptions of risk and mitigation behaviors. The research was conducted through a comparative survey of residents of Fairbanks, Alaska and Los Angeles, California to investigate how perceptions of wildfire risk and individual/governmental responsibility varied between the American Arctic and continental U.S. The results of this study found that differences between Fairbanks and L.A. residents were apparent across how they perceived responsibility in their risk mitigation behaviors.

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