Defining adequate means of residents to prepare property for protection from wildfire
Wildfire can result in significant loss of property and lives. Evidence shows that residents can decrease the risk of loss when they stay to defend their property. In order to safely defend a property, residents need to be adequately prepared for the wildfire conditions they face. Residents who wish to evacuate prior to the arrival of a wildfire also need to prepare their property and themselves for such an action. Despite the importance of preparation, there are no clear and quantifiable definitions of what it means to be prepared for different exposures to wildfire. Here we develop a model and definitions of what it means to be prepared for wildfire. The model considers the exposure of the property, the ability of the structure to withstand such an exposure and whether the resident(s) are adequately prepared. Preparation considers the physical and mental capacity of the residents, the condition of the grounds and the equipment available to defend the property. The model and definitions presented here focus on identifying points of weakness that should be addressed. An improved model and definitions will provide a benchmark for those residents who do prepare for wildfire, potentially reducing the risk of loss of property and life. However they are unlikely to address the large proportion of the at risk population that elect not to prepare for wildfire.