Differences in Information Needs for Wildfire Evacuees and Non-Evacuees

March 2013 (VOL. 31, NO. 1)

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This paper examines whether evacuees from two wildfires displayed different information seeking behavior than non-evacuees. Findings are the results of a mail survey sent to residents affected by wildfires outside Flagstaff, Arizona and Boulder, Colorado in 2010. We found evacuees sought information more actively than non-evacuees and placed a greater emphasis on use of interactive information sources, which they also tended to see as more useful and trustworthy. Evacuees also expressed lower satisfaction levels for receipt of information items that were more important to them including evacuation and road closure information. Finally, evacuees differed significantly in their assessments of pre-fire information suggesting that experiences during a fire may retroactively influence views of pre-fire information needs. Overall, findings support that of previous work and highlight the importance of disseminating information in as timely a manner as possible and through sources that allow as much interaction as possible with information providers.