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The Cost of Protecting Homes from Wildfires in Oregon
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The Cost of Protecting Homes from Wildfires in Oregon

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  • 1. The Cost of Protecting Homes from Wildfires in Oregon Full research paper at http://headwaterseconomics.org/wildfire Patty Gude patty@headwaterseconomics.org
  • 2. This research focused on 33 wildfires fought by the USFS and BLM during 2006-2010.
  • 3. Of the 33 wildfires studied, the average cost to protect a home within 6 miles of the fire was$56,614, but ranged significantly, in some fires costing more than $200,000 per home.
  • 4. The estimated firefighting cost related to housing for the study fires ranged from none to 42%, and averaged 17%.
  • 5. Based on data for 19 Oregon counties,home construction in the WUI was mostrapid from 1977-1980. The next highest rate occurred in 2006, just prior to the recession.
  • 6. Warming temperatures and drought arestrongly related to increases in wildfires.An increase in temperature of 1⁰ F is associated with an increase of 420 wildfires.
  • 7. Building new homes in otherwise undeveloped areas has the greatest potential to increase firefighting costs. VS.An avg. increase in firefighting costs of By comparison, an increase of only $319$31,545 is expected if two homes instead is expected if 100 homes instead of 99of one were within 6 mi. of a wildfire. were within 6 mi. of the wildfire.
  • 8. Policy Implications: As firefighting costs rise, future policies willneed to focus on covering the additional costs related to new housing.If the costs were borne, in part, by those who buildat-risk homes, or by local governments who permitthem, rather than by the federal and state taxpayer, development rates in high risk areas may slow.
  • 9. View other wildfire studies & resources athttp://headwaterseconomics.org/wildfire

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