Skip to Main Content
Allowing a wildfire to burn: estimating the effect on future fire suppression costsAuthor(s): Rachel M. Houtman; Claire A. Montgomery; Aaron R. Gagnon; David E. Calkin; Thomas G. Dietterich; Sean McGregor; Mark Crowley
Source: International Journal of Wildland Fire. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF12157
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
Download Publication (761.53 KB)
DescriptionWhere a legacy of aggressive wildland fire suppression has left forests in need of fuel reduction, allowing wildland fire to burn may provide fuel treatment benefits, thereby reducing suppression costs from subsequent fires. The least-cost-plus-net-value-change model of wildland fire economics includes benefits of wildfire in a framework for evaluating suppression options. In this study, we estimated one component of that benefit the expected present value of the reduction in suppression costs for subsequent fires arising from the fuel treatment effect of a current fire. To that end, we employed Monte Carlo methods to generate a set of scenarios for subsequent fire ignition and weather events, which are referred to as sample paths, for a study area in central Oregon. We simulated fire on the landscape over a 100-year time horizon using existing models of fire behaviour, vegetation and fuels development, and suppression effectiveness, and we estimated suppression costs using an existing suppression cost model. Our estimates suggest that the potential cost savings may be substantial. Further research is needed to estimate the full least-cost-plus-net-value-change model. This line of research will extend the set of tools available for developing wildfire management plans for forested landscapes.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationHoutman, Rachel M.; Montgomery, Claire A.; Gagnon, Aaron R.; Calkin, David E.; Dietterich, Thomas G.; McGregor, Sean; Crowley, Mark. 2013. Allowing a wildfire to burn: estimating the effect on future fire suppression costs. International Journal of Wildland Fire. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF12157
Keywordsbio-economic modelling, forest economics, forest fire policy, wildland fire management
- Evaluating the effectiveness of fuel treatments in Alaska - Final Report to the Joint Fire Science Program
- Evaluating risks and benefits of wildland fire at landscape scales
- Quantifying the potential impacts of fuel treatments on wildfire suppression costs volume
XML: View XML