From the Journal of Forestry:
A seven-year quest to estimate forest fire costs in Colorado revealed a number of losses not usually considered. Catastrophic fires result in direct costs, rehabilitation costs, impact costs, and special value losses. They are wildfire events that imperil public health, safety, or welfare and result in significant degradation of the environment, substantial loss of property, and often death or injury of people. While each fire is unique, a series of large fire case studies, primarily in ponderosa pine forests, are used to develop a progression of cost estimates. The author concludes that damages to forest watershed values in the arid West may ultimately result in the most serious, long-term costs of large fires. A contrasting case study where fire has been a regular component of the forest ecosystem is used to question the tacit acceptance of very costly, extremely damaging catastrophic fires as natural events.
Citation: Lynch, Dennis L. 2004. What Do Forest Fires Really Cost? Journal of Forestry (September 2004). 2004 Lynch, What Do Forest Fires Really Cost, JOF Sept 2004.