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Strategic Land Use Planning Could Lower the Cost of Wildfires

New research says land use patterns have increased the costs of wildfire protection, so strategic land use planning would help lower the costs of wildfire protection.
February 9, 2016, 11am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Building houses far apart and in locales beyond town -- the wildland-urban interface -- increases firefighting costs in the Rocky Mountain West, according to a new report from the Open Spaces Initiative at the University of Wyoming."

The news comes via the University of Wyoming website, which also notes that the study's authors argue for strategic land-use planning to "reduce wildfire suppression costs by increasing firefighting efficiency." Moreover, the "dramatic rise in firefighting costs over the last decade is due, in part, to the growth of residential development in the wildland-urban interface"—otherwise known as poor land use planning.

The efficiency of firefighting efforts falls precipitously as homes get farther apart in wildland areas. According to the study. "Using data from 291 wildfires in Colorado, Montana and Wyoming from 2002-2011, researchers found a single isolated home can add $225,000 to overall firefighting costs, while a home within a dense cluster can contribute as little as $100."

Hat tip to Shane Phillips for sharing the post.

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Published on Monday, February 8, 2016 in University of Wyoming
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