THE ECONOMIST | The High Cost of the Texas Panhandle Wildfifires

Recent wildfires in the Texas panhandle have burned well over a million acres, causing tragic loss of life and devastating local communities. In addition, the fires have destroyed livestock and grazing land in this region which is crucial to the US beef industry.
Although the high human cost and devastation are the primary concerns at this time, the fires also involve very large economic harms. The Perryman Group estimated the losses associated with the agricultural sector based on the acreage burned, farm and ranch land in the affected counties, and typical reductions in the level of output caused by fires. These preliminary estimates are for the current year only, as there will be ongoing losses going forward as the land recovers.
The Perryman Group estimates that when multiplier effects are considered, agriculture-related losses associated with the Texas panhandle wildfires will lead to a reduction in economic activity including $219.8 million in gross product and 2,035 job-years in the region. For the state as a whole, losses include a projected $264.6 million in gross product and 2,336 job-years (including results within the Panhandle Region as well as effects in
other areas). (A job-year is one person working for one year, though it could be multiple individuals working partial years.) Industries which would be particularly hard hit by agricultural losses include not only agriculture itself, but also consumer-related businesses such as retail trade, restaurants, and others.
The recent wildfires have decimated livestock herds and grazing lands. They have also destroyed homes and businesses. Even worse, they have caused the tragic loss of human lives.

Dr. M. Ray Perryman is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Perryman Group (, which has served the needs of over 3,000 clients over the past four decades.

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