Wildfire prevention studies show fuel reduction efforts save money
Recently released studies strongly suggest that foothill and mountain counties could save significant amounts of money by taking action to reduce the forest fuel loads that plague millions of acres of the state and threaten what are now being labeled “megafires.” The research was done over the past three years by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Nature Conservancy and U.S. Forest Service.
The study, called the Mokelumne Watershed Avoided Costs Analysis, focused on the Mokelumne Watershed area roughly midway between El Dorado County and Yosemite. An NPR report last week cited the benefit to cost ratio of proactive fuel reduction measures versus fire fighting.
El Dorado County District 2 Supervisor Ray Nutting alerted the Mountain Democrat to the story and forwarded a copy of the NPR report. Nutting has found occasion to bring up the topic of fuel reduction as a way to combat catastrophic wildfire at nearly every board meeting for years. Eldorado National Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree also sent copies of several related stories.
“The three-year study shows that an ‘average’ fire would have minimal effect on the water supply, but firefighting, and the damage to homes and infrastructure, would cost up to $224 million. Fuel reduction efforts, on the other hand, would cost $68 million …