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Induced Development in Risky Locations: Fire Suppression and Land Use in the American West
RFF Academic Seminar

Presenters
Carolyn Kousky and Sheila M. Olmstead
RFF Fellows

Date
Thursday, February 24, 2011
12 - 1:00 p.m.

Location
7th Floor Conference Center
1616 P St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

We test the hypothesis that efforts by federal agencies to suppress fire on forestland, grassland and shrubland in the Western United States since 1970 have acted as a development subsidy, drawing new low‐density residential and commercial development into regions at risk from wildland fire. The analysis exploits a natural experiment – a major shift in federal fire suppression policy that occurred in the aftermath of catastrophic fires in Yellowstone National Park in 1988. We use the Yellowstone event along with other sources of spatial and temporal variation in the benefits and costs of fire suppression between 1970 and 2000 to identify the effects of fire suppression on development. Results suggest that during periods when the federal government has intensified its expected suppression efforts on public lands, private residential and commercial development has accelerated on nearby land that would benefit from that suppression.

All seminars will be in the 7th Floor Conference Room at RFF, 1616 P Street NW.  Attendance is open, but involves pre-registration no later than two days prior to the event. For questions and to register to an event, please contact Juha Siikamäki at juha@rff.org (tel. 202-328-5157) or Daniel McDermott at McDermott@rff.org (tel. 202-328-5174). Updates to our academic seminars schedule will be posted at www.rff.org/academicseminarseries.

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