Published: January 2016
Author(s): Jonathon Corcoran, Renee Zahnow, Gary Higgs

The cost of fire events can be devastating in human, emotional and financial terms. There is a growing realisation that geographical techniques can be used in cross-disciplinary approaches to gain an understanding of potential causation factors associated with such events. Despite this, the theoretical frameworks within which such research efforts are often couched have received relatively scant attention. Contrast this with literature concerned with the geography of crime where the application of routine activity theory in particular has been to the fore in studies concerned with providing a sound conceptual basis to understanding spatial and temporal analysis of crime events. This paper demonstrates the application of routine activity theory to understand the geography of fire events and identify ignition situations incited through behavioural regularities. Further, the paper illustrates the practical utility of routine activity theory and its extensions for designing targeted fire prevention, mitigation and response strategies.

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