Citizens’ behaviours related to smoke in bushfires and their implications for computational models of evacuation

Date
2021-01-05
Authors
Dugdale, Julie
Lemiale, Vincent
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Abstract
The behaviours of citizens during bushfires may determine whether they live or die. Using 100 citizen witness statements from the 2009 Australian bushfires, we show how people react to bushfire smoke. Eighty-nine witnesses expressly mention smoke, not necessarily in combination with fire. This prompted behaviours including: seeking further information, monitoring the situation, effecting a fire plan (including evacuation), alerting people to danger and fire risk, and going home. Computational simulators have been used to assess civilians’ risk and to help with evacuation efforts. Despite works that accurately model fire spread and people’s behaviours in response to perceiving fire, the issue of how people react to seeing smoke from a bushfire is rarely considered. We discuss how the identified behaviours may be incorporated into an agent-based simulator of bushfire.
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Keywords
Disaster Information, Resilience, for Emergency and Crisis Technologies, agent based simulation, bushfire, human behaviour, modelling
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