A JFSP Fire Science Exchange Network
Bringing People Together & Sharing Knowledge in the Northern Rockies

The local labor market impacts of US megafires

Author(s): Benjamin A. Jones, Shana McDermott
Year Published: 2021

As we learn to sustainably coexist with wildfire, there is an urgent need to improve our understanding of its multidimensional impacts on society. To this end, we undertake a nationwide study to estimate how megafires (wildfires > 100,000 acres in size) affect US labor market outcomes in communities located within the flame zone. Both year-of-fire and over-time dynamic impacts are studied between 2010−2017. We find that counties located within a megafire flame zone experience significantly lower per capita wage earnings across multiple sources of earnings data for up to two years after megafire event occurrence. We find preliminary evidence that impacts are nonlinear over megafire size. These results highlight a new dimension of megafire impacts and expand the scope of the potential costs of megafires that should be considered in benefit-cost analyses of wildfire control and suppression decisions, especially along sustainability dimensions.

Citation: Jones, Benjamin A.; McDermott, Shana. 2021. The local labor market impacts of US megafires. Sustainability 13(16):9078. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169078
Topic(s): Fire & Economics, Human Dimensions of Fire Management
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 23551
FRAMES RCS number: 64205
Record updated: Sep 3, 2021