EDGEFIELD, S.C.—The NWTF applauds a new law in Missouri that encourages the use of prescribed fire as a vital land management tool.
Gov. Mike Parson this week signed the Missouri Prescribed Burning Act into law, encouraging increased safe and responsible use of this valuable land management tool by private landowners and contractors that provide this service.
Prior to this legislation, Missouri was one of only five states without a law legally defining negligence associated with the use of prescribed fire. As such, private landowners and prescribed burn contractors with specialized training, equipment and experience were assessed by the insurance industry at the same risk level as anyone else.
“This assessment, which didn’t take into consideration the training and expertise of these contractors and landowners, made getting insurance coverage virtually impossible or extremely expensive,” said NWTF Wildlife Biologist John Burk, who gave testimony on behalf of the bill during deliberations. “This new law provides more definition on what are considered negligent actions, opening up more opportunities for coverage. It doesn’t remove the liability for negligence, but provides more guidance for what that entails.”
The law also creates an incentive for private landowners to take the training that significantly reduces the likelihood of prescribed-fire-related accidents from occurring.
“This is a big step in easing burdens on private landowners associated with conducting active forest management treatments on their lands,” Burk said. “With more than 93 percent of the land in Missouri being under private ownership, having these protections in place and encouraging more people to become trained to perform these treatments safely, helps to achieve healthy forests and enhances habitat connectivity in the state.”
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters' rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. Since 2012, this 10-year initiative has already eclipsed goals of conserving or enhancing more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruiting or retaining more than 1.5 million hunters and opening access to more than 500,000 acres for hunting and other recreation opportunities. This critical work will continue to impact wildlife habitat and our great outdoors in the final years of the initiative.