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Abstract

Wildfires are managed in a complex dynamic environment where suppression effort, environmental, and geographic characteristics all influence wildfire outcomes. Suppression effort is largely driven by threats to values at risk. We develop a stochastic dynamic programming model of wildfire suppression to show that under certain conditions, suppression effort may be diverted from overall containment in order to protect specific values at risk. We then estimate a trivariate hazard model to determine the impact of threatened structures on three important wildfire outcomes: wildfire duration, size, and suppression costs. Our results suggest that expected wildfire duration and size increase when residential structures and outbuildings become threatened.

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