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Wildfire Study Looks At Economic Impact

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EUGENE, Ore. — While wildfires disrupt the lives of workers, employers and families but employment and wages in some sectors sometimes increase. That’s what a first of its kind study from The University of Oregon revealed.

Researchers found, on average, about six percent of the money spent on a fire went into the local community.  It’s not just about the firefighting jobs created, but work for food companies, even janitorial services.

“As fire seasons are getting to be longer the fires are getting to be more intense it’s costing more money. You are really changing the dynamics of the economics of these communities,” said UO Institute for a Sustainable Environment Director Cassandra Moseley.

The fires researchers studied didn’t destroy homes, those obviously have a very negative impact.

“It’s a mixture of contract crews and contract support services and federal resources and both of those create jobs and economic impact in the community in positive ways,” said Moseley.

The researchers plan to use their findings to lobby the US Forest Service and help policy makers understand the short and long-term effects of wildfires.

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