Today, the impacts from climate change, coupled with ongoing development within the wildland-urban interface (WUI), is increasingly placing more lives and property at risk from wildfires. As a result, firefighting expenditures are soaring in order to protect homes, infrastructure, and crucial community assets from burning.
This past year (2015) was the most expensive wildfire season in history, with the U.S. Forest Service spending $1.7 billion on suppression costs alone.
Many western states, including Oregon, are facing increasingly burdensome costs to fighting fires that impact our ability to focus on prevention. Kimiko Barrett with Headwaters Economics spies the opportunity within the challenge by looking at how land use planning could be used to mitigate fire risk.