Wildfire Prevention Costs Far Less Than Fires (Op-Ed)

Wildfire Prevention Costs Far Less Than Fires (Op-Ed)

September 18, 2014
Jeff Peterson, Northern Arizona University

The economics of wildfires are complex and grow more so as environmental conditions evolve. The average wildfire season has stretched from five months in the 1970s to seven months today, according to the report "Playing With Fire" from the Union of Concerned Scientists. But effective planning has not kept pace. Fire suppression this year has cost the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Department of the Interior $200 million more than the agencies budgeted. 

According to the FLAME Act Report — a congressionally mandated assessment of those expenditures — putting out forest fires will cost the federal government $1.6 billion before year-end. 

Read the full article here.