, a postdoctoral associate at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, recently received Honorable Mention for Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association.
In his dissertation, Bayham found that increased development across the western U.S. is affecting how government agencies respond to wildfires. He showed that using firefighting resources to protect homes and buildings diverts resources from suppresion and allows wildfires to grow larger — and more expensive — than they would have been otherwise. In addition, the protection of residential structures constrains the ability to manage other fires in the region, he found.
His research was based on 3,829 separate fires that occurred between 2001 and 2008.
“As more homes become threatened by fire, we can expect larger and more expensive fires if current policies persist,” said Bayham, who wrote the dissertation while earning his Ph.D. in economics at Washington State University.
Bayham, a postdoctoral associate with F&ES Prof. Eli Fenichel
, is currently studying the impacts of human behavioral response to the spread of infectious diseases.