Wildfire evacuation experiences of band members of Whitefish Lake First Nation 459, Alberta, Canada
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Amy Christianson; Tara K. McGee; Whitefish Lake First Nation 459
Publication Year: 2019

Cataloging Information

  • Alberta
  • Canada
  • evacuation
  • First Nations
  • health
  • natural hazards
  • wildfires
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: September 19, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 57126


This paper presents results of a study which examined how a mandatory wildfire evacuation affected members of Whitefish Lake First Nation 459, in Alberta, Canada. A qualitative case study approach was used, and semi-structured interviews were completed with 45 band members to learn about their evacuation experiences during the wildfire evacuation in May 2011 and explore the factors that complicated the evacuation process and put further strain on the evacuees and First Nation. This evacuation caused considerable distress for evacuees and had negative effects for the First Nation. Factors that affected evacuation experiences included: (1) transportation issues compounded by cultural land-use activities, (2) fear of home loss compounded by existing housing shortages, (3) information and lack of media interest, (4) language, (5) poverty, (6) large multi-generational families, (7) health concerns, and (8) reimbursement of evacuation-related expenses to the community. An overarching factor that affected the entire evacuation was jurisdiction. Based on these findings, recommendations are provided for emergency managers on improving wildfire evacuation experiences for Indigenous peoples.

Online Link(s):
Christianson, Amy; McGee, Tara K.; Whitefish Lake First Nation 459. 2019. Wildfire evacuation experiences of band members of Whitefish Lake First Nation 459, Alberta, Canada. Natural Hazards 98(1):9-29.