5th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology and the 2nd International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress

Thursday, 20 November 2003: 9:30 AM
Economic and Political Dimensions of Wildland Fire Use
Lisa A. Dale, The Wilderness Society, Denver, CO
It is now widely acknowledged that fire suppression expenses have risen sharply recently as a result of fuel buildup and the proliferation of the wildland-urban interface. Federal firefighting budgets cannot be expected to keep up with anticipated suppression costs. One of the few ways out of the current dilemma is to carefully plan for less suppression effort where it is not needed. Expanded wildland fire use could be the most cost-effective and ecologically sound approach to addressing fuels buildup and unnaturally dense stand conditions. We report on the complex political and economic dimensions of expanding wildland fire use on federal lands. Costs associated with wildland fire use are reviewed, and policy, planning, and risk management contexts are analyzed at the national, regional, and site level.

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