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Newsletter: April 2014

Research Update: April 2014 Study Finds No Evidence Firewise Lowers Suppression Costs While Firewise helps to increase homeowner and firefighter safety, our study finds no evidence of a relationship between wildfire suppression costs and Firewise participation. Local Responses to Wildfire Risks Are Limited These eight case studies highlight that most western communities are doing little […]

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In the news:

…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…

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In the news:

…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…

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In the news:

…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…

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In the news:

…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…

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Newsletter: March 2014

Research Update: March 2014 Non-Labor Income: Strong and Growing Across the West, non-labor income makes up 34 percent of total personal income; and it is growing, representing 60 percent of net personal income growth in the last decade. Our research, sortable data table, and interactive graphics explore what this important source of income means for […]

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In the news:

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...

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In the news:

…Also almost certain to grow is the cost of battling wildfires. National costs have averaged $1.8 billion annually for the past five years, and the 2012 fire season was among the most expensive on record for many regions and states, according to Headwater Economics, a nonprofit research group. But if just half of the private lands near public forests are developed in the future, annual firefighting costs "could explode to between $2.3 and $4.3 billion," said Headwaters. By comparison, the Forest Service's total average annual budget is $5.5 billion. of which $2.1 billion is used for firefighting…

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In the news:

Montana is missing out on the tax windfall provided by the oil and gas boom in the eastern half of the state, according to a local nonprofit research group. A report by Headwaters Economics looked at seven major oil-producing states and compared tax revenue from wells that use horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technology, which are also known as “unconventional” wells…

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In the news: ...Rasker’s “firetopia” may be a distant dream, yet he’s hopeful as he moves into the next phase: distilling and prioritizing forum outputs into palatable policy propositions, then presenting them to lawmakers in Washington, D.C., spring. “As long as we’re talking about the 84 percent, as long as we’re finally talking about the undeveloped portion of the WUI,” Rasker said, “we’re making progress.”