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Media Coverage of Research by Headwaters Economics
Headwaters Economics- In the NewsBozeman Chronicle 2014-06-19

…That economist, Ray Rasker with Headwaters Economics, suggested that making local governments responsible for some of these firefighting costs might motivate local leaders to practice smarter land-use planning by denying development plans that scatter homes around the fringes of heavily forested areas.

Local government participation in wildfire suppression costs is an idea that could gain political traction, and county commissioners had better brace for it. Rural fire departments – funded by taxpayers – suppress all other structural fires. Why shouldn’t they participate in the cost of defending homes in the so-called WUI, wildlands urban interface, when wildfire strikes?…

Headwaters Economics- In the NewsDenver Post 2014-05-28

The West’s upcoming wildfire season holds the high risk of again being long, expensive and dangerous, with an acceleration of alarming trends that include more and bigger fires, and increased dangers and costs associated with the need to defend private homes. Unfortunately, what we have tried so far is not adequate to prepare for these developments…

Now is the time to add a third idea that would improve local land use planning and bring a level of cost accountability to the local governments that permit new homes and subdivisions. Today, national taxpayers fund much of the cost to suppress wildfires, and local governments do not face a financial risk when permitting homes on dangerous, fire-prone lands…

Headwaters Economics- In the NewsKPCC--Southern California Public Radio 2014-05-20

While the fires that broke out last week San Diego County are now almost fully contained, California is bracing for what could be the worst fire season ever.

Economist Ray Rasker, Executive Director of Headwaters Economics, joins Take Two to talk about what people can do to adjust to the increasing risk of wildfires…

Headwaters Economics- In the NewsUSA Today 2014-05-16

…The interfaces are high-fire-risk regions where homes, subdivisions and communities butt up against chaparral, conifers and other flammable vegetation.

Ray Rasker, executive director of Headwaters Economics, an independent research group in Bozeman, Mont., said the federal government can’t tell developers where to build — that’s up to local governments — but is obligated to spend whatever it takes to fight wildfires and protect property.

“It is a classic case of a moral hazard, where you have created a risky situation and the risks and the consequences of the behavior are borne by somebody else,” he said.…

Headwaters Economics- In the NewsCNBC 2014-05-15

…Researchers say a potent combination of climate change and homebuilding near wildfire-prone areas is already translating into bigger, longer, more dangerous fires, and none of those trends are showing signs of letting up.

“Fire is a big issue,” said Ray Rasker, executive director of Headwaters Economics, a nonpartisan research group focused on land management. “When you live in the West, you live with fire.”…

Headwaters Economics- In the NewsThe Coloradian 2014-04-18

…In a series of presentations at the Colorado Wildland Fire Conference in Glenwood Springs this week, Rasker, head of the Montana-based research group Headwaters Economics, discussed a controversial aspect of limiting fire devastation in the West. Everything is increasing — from length of fire seasons to temperatures — and the only thing humans can limit is development in Colorado’s wildfire zones, Rasker said…

Headwaters Economics- In the NewsWyoFile 2014-04-08

…You may be asking, “Non-labor what?” Non-labor income includes things like investment and retirement income, and medical or economic hardship payments. Headwaters Economics recently released an in-depth study of non-labor income across the West to better understand how it affects communities…

Headwaters Economics- In the NewsDenver Post 2014-04-05

…Missing from serious consideration is what some experts consider the most effective solution going forward: restricting building in fire-prone zones.

What hasn’t been tried is controlling development,” Ray Rasker, executive director of Headwaters Economics in Bozeman, Mont., said during a panel discussion on fire and the future of the wildland-urban interface Friday at the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Affairs…

Headwaters Economics- In the NewsNPR 2014-03-19

…Chris Mehl, the policy director at Headwaters Economics, an economic think tank that studies the cost of wildfires, says it’s good that Washington is looking for a change. “But I would argue that … also may miss the boat if that’s the only discussion rather than the future larger expenses.

Mehl says the cost of fire suppression has gone from $1 billion a year on average in the 1990s to $3 billion a year this decade. And the bigger trends are all wrong, too…

Headwaters Economics- In the NewsThe New York Times 2014-02-23

In real dollar terms, adjusted for inflation, the Forest Service and Interior Department spent an average of $1.4 billion in annual wildfire protection from 1991 to 1999, according to a report by Headwaters Economics, a nonprofit research group. But that spending has more than doubled — from 2002 to 2012, the agencies spent an average of $3.5 billion to fight wildfires…