The prescribed burning debate in Australia: Conflicts and compatibilities

Khulan Altangerel, Christian A. Kull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Following the unprecedented series of bushfires in Victoria (Australia) over the past decade, public debate is fierce over the use of prescribed burning to reduce wildfire hazard. These deliberations are full of uncertainties over effectiveness and consequences, reflecting a lack of high level evidence-based debate, and appear polarised between people prioritising asset protection and others prioritising biodiversity. Using a textual analysis of submissions to a parliamentary inquiry, we investigate how people frame the risks of prescribed burning, the certainty of its outcomes and what values they evoke in order to justify their views. We find that differences do not necessarily arise from divergent priorities about nature, people or assets, but instead from contrasting views about whether humans or nature are voluntarily or involuntarily exposed to wildfire risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-120
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • wildfire
  • prescribed burning
  • risk perception
  • uncertainty
  • values
  • Victoria (Australia)


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