Wildfires in the United States: A Primer

Research Report

Wildfires in the United States: A Primer

January 28, 2016

Abstract

This report examines recent wildfires in the United States, summarizing their frequency, trends, and costs. It documents the increase in large wildfires and shows their concentration in western states. Cost and budget issues linked to wildfires are also examined. The report recommends ways to reduce the frequency and costs of wildfires along with measures to enhance the resilience of local communities to wildfires. Also noted is a misalignment of incentives in current wildfire policy. Local governments make most of the decisions that influence the cost of wildfires, but the federal government incurs most of the costs for preventing and suppressing wildfires.

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