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Do fuel treatments reduce wildfire suppression costs and property damages? Analysis of suppression costs and property damages in U.S. National Forests

Author(s): John B. Loomis, José J. Sánchez, Armando Gonzalez-Caban, Douglas B. Rideout, Robin Reich
Editor(s): Armando Gonzalez-Caban, José J. Sánchez
Year Published: 2019
Description:

This paper reports the results of two hypotheses tests regarding whether fuel reduction treatments using prescribed burning and mechanical methods reduces wildfire suppression costs and property damages. To test these two hypotheses data was collected on fuel treatments, fire suppression costs and property damages associated with wildfires on United States National Forests over a five year period. Results of the multiple regressions show that only in California did mechanical fuel treatment reduce wildfire suppression costs. However, the results of our second hypothesis tests that fuel treatments, by making wildfires less damaging and easier to control, may reduce property damages (i.e., structures—barns, out buildings, etc. and residences lost) seems to be confirmed for acres treated with prescribed burning. In three out of the three geographic regions of the U.S. which experienced significant property losses, prescribed burning lowered the number of structures damaged by wildfire.

Citation: Loomis, John; Sánchez, José J.; González-Cabán, Armando; Rideout, Douglas; Reich, Robin. 2019. Do fuel treatments reduce wildfire suppression costs and property damages? Analysis of suppression costs and property damages in U.S. National Forests. Pages 70-84. In: González-Cabán, Armando; Sánchez, José J. (technical editors). Proceedings of the fifth international symposium on fire economics, planning, and policy: ecosystem services and wildfires. General Technical Report PSW-GTR-261 (English). Albany, CA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station.
Topic(s): Fire Effects, Fire & Economics
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Conference Proceedings
NRFSN number: 19834
FRAMES RCS number: 57874
Record updated: Jul 22, 2019