Cohesion, corrosion and fire adaptation: the case of Boolarra in Australia

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Bushfires are becoming more frequent and intense in Australia and worldwide. This study examines how the Boolarra community in the Victorian state of Australia was impacted by bushfire in 2009. We consider the implications of the recovery process experienced by residents on future fire-adaptedness. We take a qualitative research approach using in-depth interviews with residents of Boolarra who experienced the fire and recovery period. We explore community dynamics following the aftermath of the fire. Our data demonstrates that some community members believed that the event had bolstered community cohesion, underpinned by support and practical help from each other, as well as from government and charitable organisations. In contrast, examples were also given of institutional support that appeared to lack fairness and transparency in distribution. This situation led to feelings of resentment, thus community corrosion, between those who did and those who did not benefit from the various government and charitable reparations. We argue that with the increasing prevalence of bushfires globally, there is a need to understand the cohesive and corrosive effects that elements of the recovery process can have on different community members.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103804
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Bushfire
  • Cohesive and corrosive communities
  • Recovery
  • Resilience
  • Fire adapted

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