Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fire Suppression Policy Study
Report Type Final Report 
Date Published June 2005 
Publication Number 05-11 
Online Availability

View this publication in an Acrobat PDF file
593 kilobytes, requires version 4.0 or later of Adobe Acrobate Reader Software

Report PowerPoint Presentation

Report Summary (click here)


In the 2004 Supplemental Operating Budget, the Legislature added $23.5 million to DNR's budget to cover additional expenditures to fight forest fires.  The Legislature also directed JLARC to investigate why expenditures are increasing and to help policymakers understand how DNR fights forest fires.  The report explains how DNR operates its fire-suppression program, offers explanations for spending increases, and suggests changes that could enhance policymaker's understanding of how DNR fights fires.  Most of the fires DNR has fought over the past ten years have been on private land and the state's general fund pays most of the costs.  There is no single factor causing spending increases but we found that when conditions are ripe for wildfires and they do burn more acres, policymakers can expect expenditures to go up: there is a close connection between total expenditures and the number of acres burned.  DNR  complies with statutory direction to fight wildfires aggressively and does not fight house fires, but when DNR shifts its focus to protecting homes and structures from burning, this may conflict with statute's direction to make trees a higher priority than structures.  DNR's financial and data systems do a poor job of helping decision makers understand costs, and the budgeting process for fire suppression needs to be changed to increase budget accuracy.
John Woolley, Analyst
Lisa Jeremiah, Analayst

Ann Daley, Project Supervisor
Print Availability Request hard copy from the JLARC Publications Officer
Number of Pages 70 
Keywords Fire, suppression, policy, policies, burn, acres, number of fires, burn policy, tender, engines, helicopter, costs, groceries, department of natural resources, DNR 
Category Economic Development/Natural Resources