Year of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department or School/College
College of Forestry and Conservation
Karin Riley, Kevin McManigal, Tony Prato
wildfire, risk, economic, evaluation, wildland urban interface
University of Montana
Natural Resource Economics
Wildland-urban interface growth and factors increasing the probability of wildfire suggest that annual spending on wildfire risk mitigation and suppression will continue to increase. With limited information about the benefits and costs of risk mitigation, land managers and homeowners may under- or over-invest in risk mitigation, where costs are disproportionate to the expected benefits of the strategy. This study accounted for expected increases in wildfire risk (due to growth of the WUI, climate change and vegetation growth) over time in Flathead County, Montana, and estimated the expected avoided loss in structure values associated with three treatment levels that would require homeowners to treat fuels on their properties. Expected avoided losses were then compared with estimates of the expected cost of implementing and maintaining the treatments over time. The majority of the WUI (86%-99%) received no more than $100 of benefit per structure, as measured by the expected avoided losses due to treatment, under all home ignition zone treatment levels. Comparison of the mean annualized treatment costs suggests the light treatments are economically efficient for about 1% of study area structures. Heavy treatments are likely to be efficient for about 3% of study area structures, and full treatments for about 2% of study area structures. Therefore, the analysis strongly suggests that mandatory fuel treatments for home-owners are unlikely to be economically efficient in Flathead County. These findings are robust to the parameter changes explored in the sensitivity analysis, in which a 20% and 50% increase and decrease in wildfire risk was conducted.
Williams, Howard L., "ECONOMIC EFFICIENCY OF FUEL REDUCTION TREATMENTS IN THE HOME IGNITION ZONE TO MITIGATE WILDFIRE RISK IN MONTANA, USA" (2015). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 4575.
© Copyright 2015 Howard L. Williams