Designing a conceptual framework for strategic selection of Bushfire mitigation approaches.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
J Environ Manage, 2023, 344, pp. 118486
Issue Date:
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Fires are an important aspect of environmental ecology; however, they are also one of the most widespread destructive forces impacting natural ecosystems as well as property, human health, water and other resources. Urban sprawl is driving the construction of new homes and facilities into fire-vulnerable areas. This growth, combined with a warmer climate, is likely to make the consequences of wildfires more severe. To reduce wildfires and associated risks, a variety of hazard reduction practices are implemented, such as prescribed burning (PB) and mechanical fuel load reduction (MFLR). PB can reduce forest fuel load; however, it has adverse effects on air quality and human health, and should not be applied close to residential areas due to risks of fire escape. On the other hand, MFLR releases less greenhouse gasses and does not impose risks to residential areas. However, it is more expensive to implement. We suggest that environmental, economic and social costs of various mitigation tools should be taken into account when choosing the most appropriate fire mitigation approach and propose a conceptual framework, which can do it. We show that applying GIS methods and life cycle assessment we can produce a more reasonable comparison that can, for example, include the benefits that can be generated by using collected biomass for bioenergy or in timber industries. This framework can assist decision makers to find the optimal combinations of hazard reduction practices for various specific conditions and locations.
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