Washington’s Inland West is “at a high, unprecedented risk of a catastrophic crown fire,”
unless fuel loads are reduced. The rhetorical problem with reducing these fuel loads is that the cost of removing small diameter fuels may exceed their market value. “But there are values other than net log returns that should be considered,” Mason said.
These other values include the public cost of fighting fires and the value of the timber that would be lost in a fire. Mason added such elements to the net present value and determined that despite the high cost of removing fuel loads, there would be a net positive return. For the Fremont and Okanogan national forests, there would be a net savings above $1.3 billion.