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Issue 120 | February 13, 2015


Drivers of Wildfire Suppressions Costs
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Cover: "Drivers of Wildfire Suppression Costs"

Drivers of Wildfire Suppression Costs:

Literature Review and Annotated Bibliography

“Suppression expenditure studies have consistently found that physical characteristics alone do not ex­plain observed variations in costs… Recent studies illustrate how drivers that influence forest management and suppression strategy deci­sions can significantly affect expenditures during wildfire suppression events.”

As speculation and scrutiny around potential drivers has increased, so too has a grow­ing body of scholarly literature investigating the influences driving suppression costs.


This working paper provides an overview of the diver­sity of drivers examined in scholarly literature that may influence suppression costs. The review indicates great variability in costs between comparable wildfires in the same season, as well as between comparable fire seasons. Much of this variation is unexplained by frequently noted drivers. 
 

Suppression expenditure studies have consistently found that physical characteristics alone do not ex­plain observed variations in costs.


Recent studies illustrate how drivers that influence forest management and suppression strategy deci­sions can significantly affect expenditures during wildfire suppression events.

Suppression expenditures include three drivers: 

  • physi­cal 
  • socio-environmental
  • management

"As policymakers search for solutions to growing suppression expenditures and the budget challeng­es they create, it is important that the full suite of suppression spending drivers is considered.”

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