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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 23(4)

Exploring the use of economic evaluation in Australian wildland fire management decision-making

Helena Clayton A C D , Melinda R. Mylek A B , Jacki Schirmer B , Geoffrey J. Cary A C and Stephen R. Dovers A C

A Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University, ANU College of Medicine, Biology & Environment, Building 141, Linnaeus Way, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.
B Centre for Research and Action in Public Health, University of Canberra, Building 22, Bruce, ACT 2617, Australia.
C Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre, 340 Albert Street, East Melbourne, Vic. 3002, Australia.
D Corresponding author. Email: helena.clayton@anu.edu.au

International Journal of Wildland Fire 23(4) 555-566 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF13140
Submitted: 29 August 2013  Accepted: 4 December 2013   Published: 9 April 2014

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Wildland fire managers make daily decisions about ways to allocate scarce resources to meet policy objectives. Making these decisions has become more challenging as the frequency and size of fires increase, as does associated risk to assets and costs of management. There is growing interest in using economic evaluation to inform resource allocation decisions, but little work has examined the economic evaluation needs of wildland fire managers, their current use of economic information and the factors that aid or hinder use. This study examined these issues through a survey of Australian wildland fire managers in fire management and policy roles. We found that despite strong interest in economic evaluation, managers have limited familiarity with most evaluation methods or use of the information derived. Several actions can improve the use and usefulness of economic evaluation for wildland fire managers: first, building capacity of managers to both commission and use economic information; second, integrating analysis of market and non-market benefits and costs as part of economic evaluation and third, better integrating economic evaluation with the broader context of decision-making processes.

Additional keywords: bushfire, decision support, policy, resource allocation, survey.


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