When wildland fires destroy buildings, do people rebuild? ?Forest Service scientists collaborated to review fires occurring from 2000 to 2005 in the lower 48 states and tracked the status of rebuilding for five years post-fire. The study examined changes in perception of fire risk; and, structural characteristics and vegetation mitigation of rebuilt homes, to examine how homes, homeowners, and communities changed after fire.
The study shows that the number of buildings inside the perimeter five years after the wildfires was greater than the number of buildings before the fires. Most of these buildings were from new construction. The study also found that for all fires studied, just 25 percent of structures lost to wildland fire are rebuilt within five years. Overall, rebuilding was slow. Despite the demonstrated risk of losing buildings to fire, the scientists found little evidence that homeowners and communities adapted by changing the locations of buildings or by lowering the rates of new development in the fire zone after a the fire..