Fact Sheet - Forest Density Preferences of Homeowners in the Wildland-Urban Interface
Wildfire management costs in the Western U.S. have skyrocketed over the past two decades, from $1 billion to more than $3 billion annually, due to an increase in the number and size of wildfires combined with rapid residential development of wildland urban interfaces (WUIs) surrounding western communities. The expansion of western WUIs is driven by increasing demand for homes in dry western forests. Millions of potential WUI acres re-main available for future development. Arid western forests offer amenities, in terms of shade, cooling effects, and aesthetics, but also come with disamenities such as high wildfire risk. With little empirical evidence of how forest density and associated wildfire risk are incorporated into WUI house prices, we investigated the level of surrounding tree density as a possible explanatory influence on sales prices in four fire-prone western WUIs.