Factors affecting community-agency trust before, during and after a wildfire: An Australian case study

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Trust has been identified as a critical relationship component in contexts of high uncertainty andcomplexity such as wildfire management, and as a primary factor in public support for wildland firemanagement strategies. However, little attention has been paid to identifying and comparing factorsacross fire management stages (i.e. before, during, after a fire) that may influence trust between communitymembers and fire management agencies. This paper attempts to address this gap by exploringfactors affecting community-agency trusting relationships before, during and after a wildfire event. Wedraw upon 26 semi-structured interviews with 38 residents of a community directly impacted by fires inDecember 2006 and January 2007 in Victoria, Australia. Communication, cooperation, trustworthiness,and integration of local concerns and knowledge influenced trust in more than one fire managementstage. Institutional structures and reduction of uncertainty were particularly strong influences during afire. After a fire, resolving negative outcomes and immediately meeting perceived needs arising from thefire were factors unique to this stage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-19
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


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