The Impact of Residential Development Pattern on Wildland Fire Suppression Expenditures

Anna M. Clark, Benjamin S. Rashford, Donald M. McLeod, Scott N. Lieske, Roger H. Coupal and Shannon E. Albeke


Despite a growing body of literature on the economics of wildland fire suppression, the effect of development pattern in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) has received only cursory treatment. We model the relationship between fire suppression expenditures and the spatial pattern of residential development using data from 281 fires in the northern Rocky Mountains. We find that the effect of WUI development on suppression expenditures is dependent on the spatial pattern of development. Our results suggest that policies to control the spatial pattern of WUI development can be nearly as effective as policies that completely restrict WUI development. (JEL C51, Q23)

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