The low social awareness of the exposure to fire risk combined with the reduced individual capacity to prevent and face emergencies, increase both social vulnerability and the cost of civil protection actions. In the Mediterranean region, these factors are intensified by the increasing risk of forest fires affecting urban and peri-urban areas due to land use changes (increased contact between forests and houses) and climate change (causing extreme fire events in sometimes unusual areas). Both factors lead to more intense fires that spread easily within the wildland-urban environment, compromising the safety of persons, fire-fighting services and infrastructures. The population is largely unaware of the risk and how to act in case of fire, and in turn, the need to protect people and infrastructures may compromise the resources available for fire suppression.

Moreover, communication and awareness policies usually have a limited scope and focus on general communication, and at best, intend to improve the organization of the affected populations in case of emergency, but they do not really promote a holistic culture of risk that allows to bring individual responsibility at the heart of prevention and preparedness. Therefore, it is necessary to raise individual awareness on the risk exposure and individual self-protection capacity, in order to reduce the social costs of wildfires, help achieve more cost-efficient policies and build more resilient societies.

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