Damage appraisal is the basis for fire-suppression decisions. Where timber is managed for production of maximum site rent, appraisal is a rather straightforward matter of applying standard financial criteria in a 'with and without' procedure. Where the aim is maximum mean annual increment, as it often is on public forests, this procedure may yield seemingly incongruous results: if the goals and constraints guiding management allow prorating a loss by substituting one part of the inventory for another, the value of the damage may be less than the value of the specific resource in the absence of any damage. This is a consequence of maximizing wood rather than value. Ignoring 'with and without' in public decisionmaking may result in overexpenditure for fire suppression.© Society of American Foresters, Bethesda, MD. Abstract reproduced by permission.