“Endogenous outcomes from natural disasters: Wildfires and wildfire suppression” (with Andrew Plantinga and Randy Walsh) [submitted]
- The evolution of risk under climate change depends both on how altered natural systems affect hazards and how humans respond. To evaluate endogenous adaptation to wildfire risk we estimate an empirical model of wildfire management that identifies the effect of threatened resources on wildfire suppression. Working with a state-of-the-art wildfire simulation tool we pilot the synthesis of ecological and economic models for improved environmental risk assessment. Results of this analysis highlight the importance of ecological processes and endogenous suppression responses for the housing stock (quantities and values) and for predicting potential property losses from climate-driven increases in wildfire hazard.
“Inequality and government responsiveness: Evidence from salient wildfire events” (with Sarah Anderson and Andrew Plantinga) [slides; paper in revision, available upon request]
- We frequently assume, and some evidence has shown, that in a democratic system public participation in governmental decisions leads to better outcomes. In this paper, we use plausibly exogenous focusing events, which raise the salience of an issue among the public, to show that public agency decision-making based on public demands can raise equity concerns. Focusing specifically on the case of wildfires and wildfire risk management in the western U.S., we find that when communities experience nearby wildfire events, it raises the salience of wildfire risk and leads agencies to place a greater number of wildfire risk reduction projects nearby. However, salience-based decision-making does not benefit all communities equally. We find that nearby fires increase rates of fuel treatment particularly among whiter and more highly educated com- munities. Although there is growing evidence of inequality in legislative representation, this is the first evidence we know of showing that public agencies perpetuate inequality, via the behavioral biases of the public.
“Wildfire threatens outdoor recreation in the Western US” (with Jacob Gellman and Margaret Walls) [slides; paper in revision, available upon request]
- Wildfire activity in the western US is increasing as outdoor recreation is growing in popularity and economic importance. Camping activity tends to coincide with fire season; however, relatively little is known about the impacts of fire on recreation. This study assesses behavioral responses of outdoor recreationists to wildfire and smoke in the western US. We link individual campground transactions from Recreation.gov, which details 25 million transactions at over 1,000 federally-managed campgrounds over the past ten years to daily satellite data on smoke and wildfire activity. The research highlights the potential for recreation reservation records to contribute to a growing body of work that uses large-scale regional or national to study recreation demand. In the presence of fire and smoke, campers cancel more trips and make fewer new reservations. Still, a strikingly high proportion of recreationists are exposed to smoke each year. From 2008 to 2016, 15.9% of visitor-days were affected by smoke, including 28.5% of unique visitors. About 2.6% of visitors camped within 20 km of an active fire. These findings highlight the growing impacts of wildfire on human activity in the west.
Works in Progress
“The distributional incidence of wildfire risk” (with Molly Robertson)
“An equilibrium model of land use and land use change” (with Ben Leard)
“Access issues exacerbate wildfire on public lands” (with Bryan Leonard and Andrew Plantinga)
“A dynamic model of wildfire suppression, temporal mismatch, and long-term risk management” (with Becky Epanchin-Niell)
Anderson, Sarah E., Maureen C. Kennedy, Andrew J. MacDonald, Max A. Moritz, Andrew J. Plantinga, Christine Tague, Ryan R. Bart, and Matthew Wibbenmeyer (2018) The dangers of disaster-driven responses to climate change. Nature Climate Change 8(8) 651-653.
Hand, Michael S., Matthew Wibbenmeyer, David E. Calkin, and Matthew P. Thompson (2015) Risk preferences, probability weighting, and strategy tradeoffs in wildfire management. Risk Analysis 35(10): 1976-1891.
Wibbenmeyer, Matthew, Michael S. Hand, David E. Calkin, Tyron J. Venn, and Matthew P. Thompson (2013) Risk preferences in strategic wildfire decision making: A choice experiment with US wildfire managers. Risk Analysis 33(6): 1021-1037.
Calkin, David E., Tyron J. Venn, Matthew Wibbenmeyer, and Matthew P. Thompson (2012) Estimating wildland fire managers’ preferences toward competing strategic suppression objectives. International Journal of Wildland Fire 22(2): 212-222.