What Drives Wildfire Costs – Internal or External Pressure?

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Title: What Drives Wildfire Costs – Internal or External Pressure?
Author: Briefel, Jason
Abstract: What Drives Wildfire Costs – Internal or External Pressure? Jason A. Briefel Abstract Over the past two decades, wildfires in the United States have become increasingly large, severe and costly to suppress. A century of successful wildfire suppression by the U.S. Forest Service and other land management agencies has fueled the growth of the wildland-urban interface, the area where human settlement intermingles with forest. Consequently, members of the public and political representatives, sources of external influence studied here, have grown to expect and demand suppression responses from fire managers. These external influences have been cited as a factor leading to higher wildfire suppression costs. This research was guided by the hypothesis that costlier fires are subject to more prevalent external influences. In an attempt to reduce wildfire suppression expenditures and to restore healthy forest ecosystems, federal wildfire policy has shifted away from focusing fire management on full suppression and now promotes a more flexible fire management approach. The transition to employing a more flexible fire management approach, which is intended to reduce wildfire suppression costs, faces challenges presented by internal factors studied in this research, the attitudes and beliefs of fire managers, as well as agency policies. This research project explores how internal and external influences affected wildfire cost and the application of more flexible fire management on wildfire events through two paired case studies of wildfires that occurred in the 2006-2007 fire seasons.
Publisher: North Carolina State University. College of Natural Resources
Date: 2011-03-30
Series/Report No.: Master of Natural Resources Professional Papers (North Carolina State University. College of Natural Resources)
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.4/4166


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