Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



The objective of this study is to develop a comprehensive method of identifying regions of varying pyrogeographic hazard. The fundamental hypothesis is that fire hazards will concentrate geographically and that natural, technological, and social factors are critical to their distribution. In recent years, national fire trends show a decline, whereas rural communities remain a consistent problem. Rural areas continue to experience higher fatality rates than mid-sized and large urban communities. The highest per capita fire death rates are concentrated in America's rural Southeast, upper Midwest, and Alaska. In the community of Fort Pierre, electrical distribution, heating, and lightning fires account for the majority of property damage, whereas careless smoking was the primary cause of fire fatality. Commercial land use experienced the highest dollar loss, whereas residential land use had the highest fire fatality rate. Considering the exposure, fatality rate, property damage, and frequency of fire, residential areas are clearly the most hazardous in Fort Pierre. GIS analysis confirmed that residential land use is the most hazardous, social hazards cluster closest to the center of town, and structural hazards are evenly distributed over a small portion of the community. Refinements include overall fire hazard being highest at the periphery of the community, whereas landscape hazards cover the largest spatial extent. The vast majority of fire experienced was technological in origin, indicating that fire is predominately a cultural phenomenon in the City of Fort Pierre.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Fire risk assessment -- South Dakota -- Fort Pierre



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University