Impact of Wildfires on Local Economies

This study was funded under Topic A of the 2001 grants under the National Fire Plan. We are also researching trade-offs in fuels management under another grant in Topic A, and the economics of biomass removals funded by a 2001 grant from the Joint Fire Science Program.



Catastrophic wildfires take a large economic toll on communities through property losses, decreased tourism, even changes in the long-term structure of the local economy. Building upon experiences gained in evaluating economic impacts of fires in Florida, researchers will evaluate economic impacts of fires in the western U.S. Insights gained will help improve how we provide assistance in the aftermath of catastrophic fires.


  • Prestemon, Jeffrey P.; Wear, David N.; Stewart, Fred J.; Holmes, Thomas P. 2006. Wildfire, timber salvage, and the economics of expediency. Forest Policy and Economics 8(3): 312 – 322.
  • Community Responses to Wildland Fire Threats, a technology transfer website by Steelman, Kunkel and Bell, NCSU
  • Abt, K.L.; Prestemon, J.P.and Holmes, T.P. 2003. Developing a model for impacts of fire on local and regional economies. Presentation at the 2nd International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress, Orlando, FL, Nov. 16-20.
  • Huggett, R.J. 2003. Fire in the wildland-urban interface: an examination of the effects of wildfire on residential property markets. Ph.D. Dissertation, Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University.
  • Butry, D.T.; Pye, J.M. and Prestemon, J.P. 2002. Prescribed fire in the interface: separating the people from the trees. In: K.W. Outcalt (Ed.) Proceedings of the eleventh biennial southern silvicultural research conference. Knoxville, TN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–48. 622 pp.
  • Presentations at the 2002 Society of American Foresters Meeting, Winston-Salem, NC:
    • Abt, K.L. and others. Local economic impacts from catastrophic wildfires
    • Huggett, R. and others. Fire in the Wildland-Urban Interface: An Examination of the Effects of the 1994 Fires in Chelan County, WA on Residential Property Markets
  • Butry, D.T.; Mercer, D.E.; Prestemon, J.P.; Pye, J.M. and Holmes, T.P. 2001. What is the price of catastrophic wildfire? Journal of Forestry 99(11):9-17


Karen L. Abt