Living and working with bushfire

Carbon Canyon, Southern California

In pursuit of lifestyle change, affordable property, and proximity to nature, people from all walks of life are moving to the rural-urban interface. Tragic bushfires and a predicted increase in high fire danger weather with climate change have triggered concern for the safety of such amenity-led migrants in bushfire-prone landscapes. Since early 2007 I have been studying perceptions of risk and levels of bushfire awareness and preparedness amongst women and men living and working with fire at the rural-urban interface in southeast Australia and the west coast of the United States. Many of the amazing stories people have shared with me as well as the lessons I have learnt over the past five years will be available in a book early next year (Gender and Wildfire at the Wildland-Urban Interface).

Carbon Canyon during the 2008 Freeway Complex Fire

I presented a taster of my book  as part of the Research Forum at the 2012 Annual Conference of the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre and Australasian Fire & Emergency Service Authorities Council in Perth last week (AFAC Knowledge Web). In addition to a reading from the opening pages, I discussed the culturally and historically distinct gender relations that underpin bushfire resilience. By comparing current-day intended actions (e.g. prepare, stay and defend, or leave early) with historical bushfire fatality trends in activities at time of death, I highlighted why a greater appreciation of gender roles and gendered norms within households as well as bushfire management agencies is crucial in our endeavours to co-exist with bushfire.

You can listen to a part of my discussion via this recorded conference-related interview with Melanie Tait on ABC Radio Illawarra.

Follow Christine on Twitter: @DrCEriksen

3 thoughts on “Living and working with bushfire

  1. Pingback: Living and working with bushfire « UOW Research Blog

  2. Pingback: Reflections from the fire front and research in its ashen wake | Conversations with AUSCCER

  3. Pingback: How prepared are we for bushfires? | Conversations with AUSCCER

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