The Impact of the San Diego Wildfires on a General Mental Health Population Residing in Evacuation Areas

  • Steven TallyEmail author
  • Ashley Levack
  • Andrew J. Sarkin
  • Todd Gilmer
  • Erik J. Groessl
Original Article


San Diego County Mental Health system clients completed a questionnaire after the October 2007 wildfires. As compared to those not in an evacuation area, those residing in an evacuation area reported significantly more impact of the fires. Clients who evacuated were most affected, followed by those in an evacuation area who did not evacuate. Evacuation strongly impacted client-reported emotional effects of the fire, confusion about whether to evacuate, and ability to obtain medications. Gender and clinical diagnosis interacted with evacuation status for some fire impact variables. Loss of control and disruption of routine are discussed as possibly related factors.


Mental health Natural disaster Wildfires Evacuation Trauma Community mental health services 



The authors acknowledge the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency Adult and Older Adult Mental Health Services for access to the management information systems.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Tally
    • 1
  • Ashley Levack
    • 1
  • Andrew J. Sarkin
    • 1
  • Todd Gilmer
    • 1
  • Erik J. Groessl
    • 1
  1. 1.Health Services Research Center, Department of Family and Preventive MedicineUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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