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Factors influencing large wildland fire suppression expenditures

Liang, Jingjing; Calkin, Dave E.; Gebert, Krista M.; Venn, Tyron J.; Silverstein, Robin P. 2008. Factors influencing large wildland fire suppression expenditures. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 17: 650-659.

There is an urgent and immediate need to address the excessive cost of large fires. Here, we studied large wildland fire suppression expenditures by the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service. Among 16 potential nonmanagerial factors, which represented fire size and shape, private properties, public land attributes, forest and fuel conditions, and geographic settings, we found only fire size and private land had a strong effect on suppression expenditures. When both were accounted for, all the other variables had no significant effect. A parsimonious model to predict suppression expenditures was suggested, in which fire size and private land explained 58% of variation in expenditures. Other things being equal, suppression expenditures monotonically increased with fire size. For the average fire size, expenditures first increased with the percentage of private land within burned area, but as the percentage exceeded 20%, expenditures slowly declined until they stabilised when private land reached 50% of burned area. The results suggested that efforts to contain federal suppression expenditures need to focus on the highly complex, politically sensitive topic of wildfires on private land.

Keywords: cost containment, fire economics, geostatistics, hierarchical partitioning, hypothesis test

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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Factors influencing large wildland fire suppression expenditures
Electronic Publish Date: December 17, 2008
Last Update:
December 17, 2008

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