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Individual Highlight

Rebuilding After Wildfire: New Development Outpaces Rebuilds

Photo of A home rebuilt after the 2010 Fourmile Canyon Fire, Boulder County. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.A home rebuilt after the 2010 Fourmile Canyon Fire, Boulder County. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Snapshot : When wildland fires destroy buildings, do people rebuild? This 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.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Mockrin, Miranda H.  
Research Location : Colorado
Research Station : Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 989

Summary

Scientists from the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain and Northern research stations, the University of Wisconsin Madison, and Oregon State University collaborated to review fires occurring from 2000-2005 in the lower 48 states; and, tracked the status of rebuilding for five years post-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 across fires, only an average 25 percent of structures lost to wildland fire are rebuilt within five years. 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 rates of new development after the fire in the fire zone.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Roger Hammer, Oregon State University
  • Sue Stewart, University of Wisconsin
  • Volker Radeloff, University of Wisconsin

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