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    Description

    Rising wildfire suppression expenditures on public land in the United States have led to increased scrutiny of wildfire management practices. One area that has received particular attention is the Forest Service's increasing reliance on contract fire crews. Because a contract crew rate includes several costs that are not included in the wage costs of a Forest Service crew, it is difficult to determine if this increasing reliance on contract fire crews increases or decreases wildfire suppression costs. The full cost of 33 Forest Service type II fire crews dispatched during the 2003 fire season from five national forests in Oregon and Washington are estimated and compared with the cost of contract crews dispatched in the same region. Results suggest that if sufficient work is available to keep a Forest Service crew productively employed throughout a fire season, then the daily cost of a Forest Service type II crew is lower than the daily cost of a contract crew.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Donovan, Geoffrey H. 2005. A comparison of the costs of forest service and contract fire crews in the Pacific Northwest. Western Journal of Applied Science 20(4):233-239

    Keywords

    Type II fire crew, wildfire suppression, Oregon, Washington, Region 6, Forest Service, contract fire crews

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