A Framework for Measuring the Impact of Wildland-Urban Interface Fires on a Regional Economy
David T. Butry, David H. Webb, Cheyney M. O'Fallon, Harvey Cutler
This report develops an approach to evaluate the direct and indirect impacts from wildland-urban interface (WUI) fires that result in the loss of functionality of the built environment, for a regional economy. While direct losses from WUI fires are largely observable, needed is a mechanism to evaluate how these indirectly affect other sectors of the economy. The approach is designed to quantify the total impacts (both direct and indirect) from WUI fire due to a loss of functionality of assets (e.g., structures) directly impacted in a regional economy, and provides a mechanism to systematically quantify the interplay between direct and indirect economic impacts. The use of a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model allows for simulation of various possible economic shocks resulting from the temporary or permanent loss of the built environment. It also allows for behavioral changes of the local population due to fire risk (e.g., changes in preferences). The output from such an approach will facilitate a better understanding of the potential vulnerabilities within a community. For example, the approach will identify thresholds of functionality that if exceeded would result in catastrophic loss. In addition, simulation of risk mitigation scenarios (allowing for a resilience in functionality) could be used to determine optimal intervention strategies. Combined with intervention cost data and cost-effective risk mitigation strategies could be identified.