By Peter O'Dowd
Laramie, WY – The cost to U-S taxpayers of protecting private homes from wildfire is estimated to be around one-billion dollars every year. Now a study from Headwaters Economics shows that number could more than double as building continues. Director Ray Rasker says only 4 percent of private land near public forests in Wyoming has been developed. That suggests there is a lot more development to come, but Rasker says federal fire-fighting budgets to protect homes across the West are already strained.
Rasker says the federal government is putting pressure on state and county agencies to cover some of the cost of protecting these homes. So he says states need to do more planning before approving new development.