Assessment of Social Vulnerability to Wildfire in Missouri, United States of America

  •  Omolola Victoria Akinola    
  •  Jimmy Adegoke    
  •  Temi Emmanuel Ologunorisa    


Wildfire is a major environmental hazard causing property damage and destruction including biodiversity loss in the United States. In order to reduce property loss and destruction arising from wildfire, this study assessed and identified social vulnerability to wildfire in Missouri using the American Community Survey data on social and demographic variables for the state of Missouri and social vulnerability index (S0VI). The study divided Missouri into five geopolitical zones from which ten counties were randomly selected for this study. The selected counties formed the basis on which fourteen social and demographic indicators were identified and assessed using Bogardi, Birkmann and Cadona conceptual framework. The result of the analysis shows that S0VI estimated for the five geopolitical zones of Missouri is moderate with a rating scale of 1.42 – 1.71. Education, income and marital status have a rating scale of 2.0 - 3.0 attributed for the high value of Social Vulnerability to wildfire. Race / ethnicity, language spoken, employment and percentage of house units that are mobile homes had a low S0VI value of 1.0 thereby contributing positively to resilience to wildfire risk. The study observes that government involvement in wildfire risk reduction is quite impressive and should still be intensified. The policy implication of this study is that education and income are key variables that contribute to high wildfire risk in Missouri. The need for government to formulate a policy on environmental education of the populace especially for people of low income and education become imperative. This will go a long way in reducing damage and property loss arising from wildfire.

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