The report aims to provide a review of the available information on the societal losses and associated costs of wildfires so policymakers and public stakeholders may make informed decisions about the tradeoffs presented by the changing wildfire regimes in the state. The scope of this report does not include a review of wildfire benefits to California or of management activities primarily intended to increase wildfire benefits. The report also does not include a review of actions to mitigate anthropogenic climate change, which are generally intended to address a broader suite of outcomes beyond only those caused by wildfires.
Our approach to understanding wildfire losses and their associated costs in this report is broad. We consider both the direct and indirect losses attributable to wildfires themselves, as well as related wildfire events, including wildfire smoke plumes and post-wildfire landslides. Effective policy must rely on this expanded understanding of the costs associated with wildfires and the cost-effectiveness of prevention and mitigation actions when considering public policy tradeoffs.
The structure of the report is organized as follows:
- Chapter 1 Introduction and Conceptual Framework
- Chapter 2 provides a brief background on wildfires in California, including a detailed description of the various wildfire impacts.
- Chapter 3 discusses costs associated with wildfire prevention and mitigation actions.
- Chapter 4 summarizes the literature on the physical losses from wildfire events.
- Chapter 5 reviews the literature on the public health losses associated with wildfires.
- Chapter 6 reviews the literature on impacts to ecosystems and non-market ecosystem services.
- Chapter 7 reviews the literature on the impacts to individual markets and the broader economy.
- Chapter 8 concludes with a summary of key lessons and recommendations.