Journal of Forest Economics > Vol 38 > Issue 3

On the Marginal Cost of the Duration of a Wildfire

Antoine Belgodere, UMR CNRS LISA, Université de Corse, France, , Frédéric Allaire, INRIA, France, Jean-Baptiste Filippi, UMR CNRS SPE Université de Corse, France, Vivien Mallet, INRIA, France, Florian Guéniot, UMR CNRS LISA, Université de Corse, France
Suggested Citation
Antoine Belgodere, Frédéric Allaire, Jean-Baptiste Filippi, Vivien Mallet and Florian Guéniot (2023), "On the Marginal Cost of the Duration of a Wildfire", Journal of Forest Economics: Vol. 38: No. 3, pp 265-292.

Publication Date: 23 Aug 2023
© 2023 A. Belgodere, F. Allaire, J.-B. Filippi, V. Mallet and F. Guéniot
Fire economicsenvironmental policyrisk assessmentwildfire simulation


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In this article:
1. Introduction 
2. Numerical Methods and Data 
3. Evaluating the Cost of Fire 
4. Evolution of the Damage 
5. Discussion 
5. Conclusion 


Avoiding catastrophic wildfires is a natural rationale for fighting fires in their early stage. Beside this benefit, may a marginal decrease in the duration of smaller wildfires be worthwhile? The present article addresses this topic by estimating the marginal damage of the duration of forest fires. We perform two sets of wildfire simulations in Corsica, and estimate the damage based on the type of land use in burned areas. Results suggest that the marginal cost of the duration of fires rises by a factor of 4 during the first 400 minutes. The two reasons appear to be the increase in the marginal burned area (a physical mechanism) and the increase in the value of the marginal burned area, due to the ignition points being located in low-value places (a human mechanism). Using a conservative calibration, our results corroborate the principle of early initial attack already in use in countries with sufficient fire fighting forces, but subject to debate because of its cost.