Wildfires becoming more dangerous and more expensive

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Fighting flames is getting harder and harder for wild land firefighters in urban areas like the Treasure Valley, and in turn, that's costing you more money.

A recent study by Headwaters Economics shows that in the 1990's about $1 billion of taxpayer money went toward stopping wildfires across the country annually. But in recent years, that amount has jumped to $3 billion of taxes a year.

When it comes to the cause, Headwaters Economics focuses the majority of the issue on homes built in more fire-prone areas, like the Treasure Valley's foothills.

The Boise District Bureau of Land Management says wildland firefighters aren't trained to deal with saving houses and other structures, so when they have to, it takes a lot more money and resources. Homes in foothills areas can also serve as a lot of fuel to the flames.

The BLM says "firewise" communities are needed to prevent disasters in our area. Across the United States, less than two-percent of at-risk neighborhoods are registered as "firewise". In the Treasure Valley, there are nine foothills communities that meet the standards.

"Firewise" communities have strict regulations for building materials and landscaping with defensible space.

KBOI recently found that in some areas of Idaho, protection of homes will be solely up to homeowners this fire season. Wildland firefighters are being told not to risk their lives over homes this year, as they did last year in the Beaver Creek fire. To see the story, click here.