Suppression Costs

Firefighting expenditures are continually rising to well over a billion dollars being spent each year, often exhausting annual budgets, and this is causing a fiscal crisis in federal land management agencies, particularly the U.S. Forest Service. Despite huge increases in money, resources, and personnel being committed to fire suppression, the number of burned acres and destroyed homes continue to increase. This page offers some important analyses and science synthesis papers explaining some of the underlying reasons fueling this rise in suppression spending, with particular attention to the “human dimensions” of fire management.
FUSEE Documents

The Sky’s the Limit: The Soberanes Fire Suppression Siege of 2016 (2018)

Flying Blind: Federal Misuse of Airtankers Adds to Skyrocketing Fire Suppression Costs

Getting Burned: A Taxpayer’s Guide to Wildfire Suppression Costs

Other Documents

The Rising Costs of Wildfire Suppression and the Case for Ecological Fire Use” (2015)
The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix (DellaSala & Hanson eds.) Elsevier Academic Press

Drivers of Suppression Costs: A Literature Review and Annotated Bibliography (2015)

From the Ashes: Reducing the Harmful Effects and Rising Costs of Western Wildfires (2000)

Money to Burn: The Economics of Fire and Fuels Management

Fire Suppression Costs: Federal Crews Versus Contract Crews

General Accounting Office (GAO) Reports

Wildland Fire Management: Lack of Clear Goals or a Strategy Hinders Federal Agencies’ Efforts to Contain the Costs of Fighting Fires (June 2007)

Wildfire Suppression Funding Transfers Cause Project Cancellations and Delays, Strained Relationships, and Management Disruptions (GAO Report, 2004)

National Academy of Public Adminstration Reports

Wildfire Suppression: Strategies for Containing Costs (Sept. 2002)

Containing Wildland Fire Costs: Improving Equipment And Services Acquisition (Sept. 2003)

Containing Wildland Fire Costs: Utilizing Local Firefighting Forces (Dec. 2003)

Containing Wildland Fire Costs: Enhancing Hazard Mitigation Capacity (Jan. 2004)

U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Policy Documents

Large Fires Suppression Costs: Strategies for Cost Management (Aug. 2004)

Policy Implications of Large Fire Management: A Strategic Assessment of Factors Influencing Costs (2000)USFS Chief Bosworth: Wildland Fire Suppression Costs in Fiscal Year 2001