Three organizations call for more ambitious hazardous fuels mitigation

burned structure Eiler Fire wildfire
A burned structure at the Eiler Fire in northern California, August 6, 2014. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

Three non-profit organizations involved with wildland fire issued a joint position statement recommending that land managers adopt a more ambitious stance toward hazardous fuels mitigation. The 13-page document was released this week by the Association for Fire Ecology, the International Association of Wildland Fire, and The Nature Conservancy.

The organizations identified costs as one of the main concerns and pointed out that missing from most accounting of wildfire costs are indirect, such as rehabilitation, real estate devaluation, and emergency services — that can be two to 30 times more than the actual expenses to fight the fire.

The paper listed four cost-related issues:

1. SUPPRESSION COSTS INCREASING.The cost of wildfire suppression has continued to increase over the last decade.
2. FIRES ARE COSTING TAXPAYERS MORE. Wildfires are costing taxpayers far more than is typically reported by governments and the media.
3. INVESTMENTS NEEDED. Investment in wildfire hazard mitigation needs to be increased and maintained.
4. FUELS TREATMENTS NEED TO BE TREATED RIGHT. Fuel treatments are supported by current and developing science.

The organizations recommend federal wildfire funding reform, reduction of impediments to hazardous fuels mitigation, emphasizing prescribed fire and wildfires managed for resource benefits, and tracking long-term and multi-sector economic losses caused by wildfire.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “Three organizations call for more ambitious hazardous fuels mitigation”

  1. They said it all AGAIN in 13 pages. For the person living in a wildfire prone area sure something should be done. But what can I do as one person to help the situation? I have provided a defensible space around my property as per law. The neighbors have brush growing through their windows. If their still (an apparatus) explodes the entire area regardless of good individual attempts to protect will be affected. No more studies on this issue. We know what needs to be done. Will it be done, probably not.


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