Incorporating economic valuation into fire prevention planning and management in southern European countries

Elsa Varela, Mario Soliño


Aim of study: This article describes and analyzes the links between the fire-based scientific knowledge, the social perception of fire prevention and forest fires and the economic valuation requirements to assess social preferences for fire prevention measures.

Area of study: Southern European countries.

Material and Methods: For that purpose, we develop a critical revision of the existing literature on economic valuation of social preferences for fire risk reduction and fire prevention in terms of its links with fire science and social perceptions and the applicability of these results in fire management policies.

Research highlights: The assessment of social preferences for fire related issues is challenging due to the difficulty of setting sound valuation scenarios that can simultaneously be relevant for the respondents and derive conclusions useful for fire management. Most of the revised studies set up valuation scenarios focused on the final management outcome e.g. number of burnt hectares, what is easier for the respondents to evaluate but weakens the scientific relationship with fire management, making difficult reaching conclusions for sound management advice. A more recent set of valuation studies have been developed where risk perception of homeowners is further assessed as a key variable determining their preferences in valuation scenarios. These studies are relevant for mangers setting fire prevention programs in wildland urban interface areas as understanding the factors that may promote or hinder the enrolment of these homeowners in fire prevention activities may have direct implication in addressing communication programs to promote fire prevention management.

Keywords: fire prevention; fire risk reduction; economic valuation.

Abbreviations used: WTP- willingness to pay; CV- contingent valuation; CM- choice modelling.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2015242-06449