How to stimulate the economy while curbing wildfires
September 26th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

How to stimulate the economy while curbing wildfires

Editor’s Note: Tong Wu is an environmental policy analyst and researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. To submit an article for consideration, email the Managing Editor of at Amar[dot]Bakshi[at]turner[dot]com.

By Tong Wu – Special to CNN

In recent months, the nation has been riveted by the spectacle of catastrophic wildfires across the western United States, most recently in Texas.  Last year, we witnessed the same harrowing phenomenon in Russia, where a catastrophic outbreak of forest fires racked up an appalling ecological and social toll.  These conflagrations have not only wrought significant ecological damage and released large amounts of carbon emissions, but also imposed far-ranging economic burdens.  In southern California, for instance, studies indicate that environmental damages caused by wildfires can decrease the property value of a nearby house by tens of thousands of dollars.  Combined with the resulting standstill in business activity, property damage and lost jobs and income, the fallout from these disasters can stretch into the hundreds of millions of dollars and have all the makings of a recession – albeit one caused by poor management of natural, not financial, resources. FULL POST

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Topics: Economy • Environment • Jobs