Economic analysis of health effects from forest fires
Epidemiological studies have shown that high levels of fine particulate matter (PM) are correlated with adverse human health effects. Approximately one-third of PM emissions in Canada originate from forest fires. However, air quality concerns are not typically included in resource allocation decisions in fire management. In this paper we examine the economic magnitude of these health concerns and compare them to other costs of forest fires using the 2001 fire in Chisholm, Alberta, as a case study. We construct an empirical air dispersion model to estimate the concentration of PM arising from the fire. Benefit transfer methods were used to determine the health impacts associated with elevated PM from the fire and to value these impacts. The economic impacts appear to be substantial, second only to timber losses. The approaches used in this case study can be extended to construct a map that identifies the values at risk from health effects. The use of monetary values of these impacts helps in comparison and aggregation of the values at risk.
AIR-POLLUTION, UNITED-STATES, CANADA
0045-5067; CAN J FOREST RES, APR 2006, vol. 36, no. 4, p.868 to 877.