The “Efficiency Concern”: Exploring wildfire risk on heirs’ property in Macon‑Bibb County, Georgia, United States of America
There is heightened interest in heirs’ property research, as a burgeoning social science literature and recent popular press articles have drawn attention to the inequities of this insecure type of property ownership. Economists and legal scholars charge that heirs’ property ownership inhibits the ability of owners to efficiently manage property. We developed a novel methodology combining LiDAR techniques, GIS mapping, and Fuel Characteristic Classification System data to compare vegetative understory accumulation and wildfire risk for heirs’ and non-heirs’ parcels in rural Macon-Bibb County, Georgia, United States. Paired samples t-test of LiDAR-detected understory amounts indicated no significant differences for heirs’ and adjacent non-heirs’ parcels. However, surface-level wildfire spread more rapidly on heirs’ parcels, but heirs’ parcels had significantly less available fuel. Identification of wildfire risk for heirs’ property owners can help public land managers better understand wildfire risks for this type of socially vulnerable real property owners.