U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Final Report: JFSP Project Number 09-1-10-3


US government work.


Large wildfires disrupt the lives of workers, families, and employers. However, fire suppression and recovery efforts may provide economic opportunities. Unlike with other natural hazards, there has been little research about how wildfires affect local economies. The purpose of this project was to analyze the effects of large wildfires on labor markets and examine how fire suppression spending may mediate these effects. Main findings from this research suggest that (1) in the short term, labor market impacts from large wildfires are positive during the course of a fire, (2) in the long-­‐term, large wildfires lead to greater economic instability by amplifying seasonal variation in employment, (3) local capture of suppression spending helps mediate negative labor market impacts, and (4) local business capacity to capture suppression contracts varies and can be measured by the number of suppression-­‐related vendors active in the county.