Measuring the long-term costs of uncharacteristic wildfire: A case study of the 2010 Schultz Fire in Northern Arizona

Evan E. Hjerpe, Melanie M. Colavito, Catrin M. Edgeley, Jack T. Burnett, Thomas Combrink, Diane Vosick, Andrew Sanchez Meador

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Wildfires often have long-lasting costs that are difficult to document and are rarely captured in full. Aims: We provide an example for measuring the full costs of a single wildfire over time, using a case study from the 2010 Schultz Fire near Flagstaff, Arizona, to enhance our understanding of the long-term costs of uncharacteristic wildfire. Methods: We conducted a partial remeasurement of a 2013 study on the costs of the Schultz Fire by updating government and utility expenditures, conducting a survey of affected homeowners, estimating costs to ecosystem services and updating costs to real 2021 US dollars. Key results: Costs associated with the Schultz Fire continued to accrue over 10 years, particularly those associated with post-wildfire flooding, totalling between US$109 and US$114 million. Suppression costs represented only 10% of total costs. Conclusions: This study is the first of its kind to include a remeasurement of wildfire costs and to provide a long-term assessment of the same wildfire over a 10-year period. Implications: Our results and lessons learned can help standardise approaches for full cost accounting of wildfire and illuminate the breadth of typically latent and indirect economic costs of wildfire such as post-wildfire flooding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1474-1486
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 21 2023


  • Schultz Fire
  • community wellbeing
  • ecosystem services
  • forest restoration
  • full cost of wildfire
  • net value change
  • post-wildfire flooding
  • risk mitigation
  • uncharacteristic wildfire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Ecology


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