42 B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev. 541 (2015)
Free Riders on the Firestorm: How Shifting the Costs of Wildfire Management to Residents of the Wildland-Urban Interface Will Benefit Our Public Forests

handle is hein.journals/bcenv42 and id is 556 raw text is: 




  FREE RIDERS ON THE FIRESTORM: HOW
      SHIFTING THE COSTS OF WILDFIRE
    MANAGEMENT TO RESIDENTS OF THE
    WILDLAND-URBAN INTERFACE WILL
         BENEFIT OUR PUBLIC FORESTS


                           BENJAMIN REILLY*

  Abstract: Since the early 1900s, the federal land management agencies-the
  Forest Service in particular-have focused their wildfire management efforts on
  suppression. A century of wildfire suppression policy has created a buildup of
  natural fuels in the Nation's forests that contribute to larger, more damaging fires
  today. This, coupled with the rapid development of the Wildland-Urban Interface,
  makes today's wildfires a greater threat to human life and property. As a result,
  the federal government's annual expenditures for wildfire management have bal-
  looned in recent years. Relying on the billions of tax dollars spent each year to
  fight wildfire, individuals have continued to develop property on fire-prone lands
  and insurers continue to issue them policies with premiums that do not reflect the
  true risk of wildfire. This situation creates an implicit subsidy for residents of
  fire-prone lands, which presents many of the same pitfalls as the National Flood
  Insurance Program's explicit subsidy for residents of flood-prone lands. This
  Note advocates for a reform of the way we pay for wildfire management. Specif-
  ically, it encourages the federal government to implement a National Wildfire In-
  surance Program that employs a homeowner mandate to shift the costs of wild-
  fire management to those who directly benefit from it: the residents of the
  Wildland-Urban Interface.

                             INTRODUCTION

     In the summer of 2013, the Nation's attention was captured by the devas-
tation of the Yarnell Hill fire that burned in central Arizona. 1 A lightning strike
started the fire, and it was fueled by an extended drought and strong winds.2 It

    * Executive Notes Editor, BOSTON COLLEGE ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS LAW REVIEW, 2014
2015.
    1 See Kirk Siegler, A Tragic Year for WildlandFirefighters Ends in Tragedy, NAT'L PUB. RADIO
(Dec. 28, 2013, 9:49 AM), http://www.npr.org/2013/12/28/257771391/a-tragic-year-for-wildland-
firefighters-ends-in-reflection, archived at http://perna.cc/HSL7-SYUH (noting that the Yarnell fire
captured the Nation's attention to a degree that other fires have not).
   2 Jason Samenow, Behind the Weather That Led to the Deadly Yarnell Hill Fire, WASH. POST,
July 1, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/07/01/the-weather-
that-led-to-the-deadly-yarnell-hill-fire/, archived at http://perna.cc/5HSG-K3ML.

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