Contingent Valuation of Fuel Hazard Reduction Treatments
Increasing numbers of wildfires each summer has brought forward legislative and administrative proposals for expanding prescribed burning and mechanical fuel reduction programs. A policy of accelerating the amount of land to be mechanically thinned or prescribed burned is not without opposition. Prescribed burning can generate significant quantities of smoke that affects visibility and aggravates health problems for people with respiratory conditions. Prior initiatives to increase prescribed burning in states such as Florida and Washington have often been limited by citizen opposition due to smoke and health effects. The prescribed burning program is also expensive and costs as much as $250 per acre or more in some parts of the country. Thus, a policy relevant issue is whether the benefits of fuel reduction policies exceed the costs.
This chapter presents a stated preference technique for estimating the public benefits of reducing wildfires to residents of California, Florida, and Montana from two alternative fuel reduction programs: prescribed burning and mechanical fuels reduction. The two wildfire fuels reduction programs under study are quite relevant to people living in California, Florida and Montana because of these states’ frequent wildfires1. The methodological approach demonstrated here has broad applicability to other fire prone areas of public land as well.
KeywordsBurning Income Smoke Dial Cali
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