PurposeThe purpose of this paper is twofold: first is to examine the changing spatio-temporal patterns and regional trends in residential fires; and second is to investigate the likely association of fire risk with seasons, calendar events and socio-economic disadvantage.Design/methodology/approachUsing spatial analytic and predictive techniques, 11 years of fire incident data supplied by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services are mapped and analysed.FindingsThe results show significant spatial and temporal variability in the distribution of residential fires. Residential fire incidents are more likely to occur in the inner city and across more disadvantaged areas. Mapped outputs show some areas in Brisbane at a higher risk of fire than others and that the risk of fire escalates at specific times of the year, in neighbourhoods with a higher disadvantage, during major sporting events and school holidays. The residential fires showed strong seasonal periodicity. There is a continuous yet gradual increase in the number of fire incidents recorded for all five sub-regions within SEQ. Sunshine Coast experienced the highest upward trend whereas Toowoomba and West Moreton show the lowest increase.Originality/valueThis study provides an empirical basis to guide future operational strategies through targeting high fire risk areas at particular times. This, in turn, will help utilise finite resources in areas where and when they need and thus enable minimise emergency management costs.
Disaster Prevention and Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 5, 2018
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