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A Provisional Conceptual Model of Human Behavior in Response to Wildland-Urban Interface Fires



Lauren Folk, Erica D. Kuligowski, Steve Gwynne, John Gales


With more frequent and destructive wildfires occurring in the growing wildland-urban interface (WUI), the ability to ensure the safe evacuation of potentially large groups of people is of increasing importance. This is a challenging task made only more difficult by the fact that there is often little warning and that evacuations often need to take place in a short period of time. The creation of credible and effective evacuation models is needed within the fire safety engineering community to help address this challenge. Although potentially difficult to represent, a critical component in developing such models is the consideration of what people will do in response to a WUI fire. In this literature review, research relating to WUI fire evacuations was collected to identify the factors that influence protective action decision-making and response during these events, specifically whether someone chooses to evacuate or not. To supplement the findings, related hurricane evacuation literature was also reviewed for such factors. The factors that were identified relate to sociodemographic factors, social and environmental cues, preparation and experience, familial responsibilities, location, and credible threat and risk assessment. These factors were organized according to the Protective Action Decision Model (PADM) to create a conceptual model of protective action decision-making. This is the first step in being able to incorporate such factors and their corresponding impact on public response into comprehensive WUI evacuation models.
Fire Technology
(published online)


human behavior, wildland-urban interface fire, evacuation modeling, evacauation behavior


Folk, L. , Kuligowski, E. , Gwynne, S. and Gales, J. (2019), A Provisional Conceptual Model of Human Behavior in Response to Wildland-Urban Interface Fires, Fire Technology, [online], (Accessed May 30, 2024)


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Created March 5, 2019, Updated October 12, 2021