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David Butry (Fed)

Dr. Butry joined NIST in 2006. From 1999-2006, he served as Economist for the USDA Forest Service, primarily researching the economics of wildland fire. Dr. Butry's formal training is in the areas of applied microeconomics and econometrics, with specialization in the fields of natural resource economics, environmental economics, and spatial statistics. He is interested in the economics of natural and man-made disasters, and with econometric issues relating to spatial autocorrelation and analysis, endogenous variables, and self-selection.

Dr. Butry is leading research in the areas of wildland fire, multi-hazard analysis, and community-scale disaster resilience. Current projects include:

Understanding homeowner risk and spatially optimal mitigation strategies in the wildland-urban interface
This research develops an economic methodology to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of community-based fire mitigation strategies within the wildland-urban interface when house vulnerability exhibits interdependency with neighboring houses.

Spatially analyzing fire damage within wildland-urban interface communities
This research creates a geographic information system (GIS) database of fire occurrence within the wildland-urban interface (WUI) communities of the U.S. The GIS database will facilitate measurement of fire-related casualties and structure losses at different levels of spatial aggregation (e.g., community, county, nation).

Measuring the fire resilience of wildland-urban interface economies at the community-scale
This research develops a community-based decision support tool evaluating the impacts fire mitigation strategies, fire protection technologies, and other community attributes (e.g., topography, forest fuel levels, demographics) have on the disaster resilience of local economies against wildland fire threats and vulnerabilities. The tool developed will be spatially-explicit, allowing communities to tailor-design and target cost-effective wildfire mitigation solutions to their geographic area of concern.

Measuring the benefit-cost performance of residential fire sprinkler systems
This research conducts a benefit-cost analysis of the expected present value net benefits resulting from the installation of a multipurpose networked fire sprinkler system in a newly constructed single-family house. The benefits and costs associated with the installation and use of a fire sprinkler system are compared across three prototypical single-family housing types: colonial, townhouse, and ranch.

Measuring the efficacy of fire prevention efforts on wildfire activity
This research measures the efficacy of State and federal fire prevention efforts on wildfire activity in Florida using a propensity score blocking model.

Assessing the cost-effectiveness of fuels management
This research evaluates the returns on investment into fuels treatments (e.g., mechanical harvests) in the wildland-urban interface.


Response Time Impact of Smoke Alarms

Stanley W. Gilbert, Thomas Cleary, Paul A. Reneke, Richard Peacock, David Butry
It can be assumed that smoke alarms reduce reported fires and casualties by reducing on average the amount of time it takes to detect a fire. This paper sets
Created October 9, 2019, Updated December 8, 2022