USA: Symposium on Fire Economics, Planning and Policy: Bottom lines (1999)


Symposium on Fire Economics, Planning and Policy:Bottom lines

5-9 April 1999, San Diego, California

    Rationale Wildfire management costs have escalated in the past decade, largely due to increased expenditures for suppressing large fires. Frequent siege-like fire incidents have racked up enormous losses in life, property, and natural resources. Additionally, there is growing recognition of the futility of fighting fires in ecosystems where prior fire exclusion policies have led to dangerous fuel accumulations.

    Political and social pressures, such as those encountered in urban interface areas, complicate agency management options. The economic consequences of alternative management strategies are poorly understood. Cost-effectiveness comparisons between prescribed fire and other treatments are compounded by analytical difficulties. Expenditures on large fires may bear little relation to values at risk. Current analysis tools for justifying budgets and displaying tradeoffs rarely incorporate consideration of all relevant contributors to fire management costs and net value changes.

    Numerous reports have recognized the importance of optimizing fire management costs, yet progress toward this end has been slow and uncertain. There is a need for policy makers, natural resource managers, and fire practitioners to exchange ideas and learn from mutual concerns.

Objectives of the Seminar

  • To provide a forum for the discussion and exchange of ideas regarding the economics of fire management and
  • To share the latest in developments and technologies available for optimizing fire management expenditures.

Format: General sessions will provide participants the greatest opportunity for dialogue among all the speakers and presenters. Special times will be scheduled for viewing posters and exhibits.

Other Activities: An optional harbour dinner cruise will be offered to participants of the symposium. Details will be included in the registration confirmation materials. Other group activities have been minimized to allow participants to take advantage of the many sights in San Diego.

    Topics to be covered

  • Large wildfire costs (how much and why?)
  • Alternative approaches to fire planning in different agencies
  • Economics of preparedness
  • Fuel treatment (including prescribed fire-wildfire tradeoffs)
  • Appropriate management response: will costs be reduced?
  • Fire restoration: are the benefits worth it?
  • Resource valuation requirements in strategic fire planning
  • Workforce issues
  • Case studies: Success stories in reducing fire management costs

    Who should attend? Topics will be of interest to policy makers, analysts and planners, line officers and participants in wildland fire situation analyses, fire practitioners, consultants, environmental managers, and journalists.

    Sponsorship and Key Organizers: Primary sponsorship is jointly held by the Western Forest Fire Research Center (WESTFIRE), Colorado State University, and the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, The Symposium is also sponsored by the International Association of Wildland Fire and the Society of American Foresters. The Symposium has been approved for 23.0 credit hours, category #1 in SAF’s Continuing Forestry Education Program. Other supporters and cooperators will be noted at the Symposium.

    Call for Papers & Posters: Deadline for submission of abstracts for presentation/poster sessions was 30 May 1998. Coordinator for abstract submission is:


    Armando Gonzalez-Caban
    USDA Forest Service, Riverside Fire Lab
    4955 Canyon Crest Dr
    Riverside, California 92507

    Fax: ++1-909-680-1501
    Tel: ++1-909-680-1525
    e-mail: agc/


Proceedings will be published according to USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station guidelines.

Location, Lodging & other Logistics:

Location and Lodging: The Symposium will he held at the Westin Horton Plaza, San Diego. A block of rooms at the Westin Horton Plaza has been reserved for Symposium participants. Special overnight rates will be available to all participants and are currently S93,00/night Single. $108.00/night Double. Reservations can be made by phone (within the USA: 1-800-693-7846 or from outside the USA: ++1-619-239-2200) and must be made by 1 March 1999, in order to ensure space and special rates. Please identify yourself as a Fire Economics Symposium participant when making reservations.

Transportation: The Westin Horton Plaza is 10 minutes from the San Diego International Airport. Cloud 9 Shuttle Service provides transportation to and from the hotel at $5.00 per person one-way. Parking at the hotel is currently available for $12.00/night (self) or $15.00/night (valet). The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) provides extensive bus and trolley service in the area.

 Register for the Symposium electronically

 Questions can be directed to:


Philip N. Omi
Director Western Forest Fire
Research Center (WESTFIRE)
Colorado State University
Ft. Collins, Colorado 80523

Fax: ++1-970-491-6754
Tel: ++1-970-491-5819


Or consult the Fire Economics Symposium webpage at:

IFFN No. 19


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