1st Edition

Wildfire Policy Law and Economics Perspectives

Edited By Dean Lueck, Karen M. Bradshaw Copyright 2012

    During the five decades since its origin, law and economics has provided an influential framework for addressing a wide array of areas of law ranging from judicial behaviour to contracts. This book will reflects the first-ever forum for law and economics scholars to apply the analysis and methodologies of their field to the subject of wildfire. The only modern legal work on wildfire, the book brings together leading scholars to consider questions such as: How can public policy address the effects of climate change on wildfire, and wildfire on climate change? Are the environmental and fiscal costs of ex ante prevention measures justified? What are the appropriate levels of prevention and suppression responsibility borne by private, state, and federal actors? Can tort liability provide a solution for realigning the grossly distorted incentives that currently exist for private landowners and government firefighters? Do the existing incentives in wildfire institutions provide incentives for efficient private and collective action and how might they be improved?

    1. Common Law Liability for Fire: A Conceptual, Historical and Economic Analysis Richard Epstein 2. Property and Fire Thomas Merrill 3. Fuel for the Fire: Liability and the Economics of Wildfire Risk Jonathan Yoder 4. Economics and the Organization of Wildfire Suppression Dean Lueck 5. Norms of Fire Suppression among Public and Private Landowners Karen Bradshaw 6. Saving Forests, Saving Houses, or Burning Money: The Political Economy of Wildfire Management Sarah E. Anderson and Terry L. Anderson 7. When "Smoke Isn’t Smoke": Missteps in Air Quality Regulation of Wildfire Smoke Kirsten Engel and Andrew Reeves 8. Private and Public Provision of Firefighting Services in Rural Australia Jeff Bennett 9. Fire Suppression Policy, Weather and Western Wildland Fire Trends: An Empirical Analysis Jason Scott Johnston and Jonathan Klick 10. In Harm’s Way: Homeowner Behavior and Wildland Fire Policy Carolyn Kousky, Sheila Olmstead, and Roger Sedjo


    Karen M. Bradshaw is a judicial clerk for the Honorable E. Grady Jolly of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Dean Lueck is a professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Arizona. Prior to his academic career, he was a smokejumper with the USDA Forest Service in McCall, Idaho.

    "The incidence and cost of wildfires is increasing as the urban/forest interface has expanded. More and more, people want to live in or near forest lands, and as a result, are at greater risk from forest fires. In the US alone there are more than 70,000 wildfires annually, covering 6 million acres, and the federal government's annual budget for fire suppression is $1 billion. All of this suggests important issues of law, economics, property rights, risk assessment, investment incentives, political and bureaucratic agendas, and natural resource management. Yet, wildfires have received little systematic analysis from scholars until now. In Wildfire Policy: Law and Economics Perspectives, an outstanding group of scholars brings fresh and needed interdisciplinary research with policy implications to this important and growing phenomenon. This volume is a valuable contribution to the literature and I strongly recommend it."
    Gary Libecap, University of California Santa Barbara

    "As the size and severity of wildfires continue to increase, finding a pathway to sustainable ecosystem management given current trends in climate and land use is a critical task. Wildfire Policy: Law and Economics Perspectives identifies a key set of controversial issues in fire economics, law and public policy."
    Don Falk, University of Arizona

    "The publication of Wildfire Policy: Law and Economics Perspectives could not be more timely. This is particularly so in the western United States where decades of forest mismanagement have created unprecedented conditions for wildfire on a massive scale. Those seeking to restore the natural role of wildfire in forest and range ecosystems can learn much from this fine collection of essays."
    James L. Huffman, Dean Emeritus Lewis & Clark Law School