To insure or not to insure? Factors affecting acquisition of prescribed burning insurance coverage.
Prescribed burning is a widely used tool in forest and grassland management. However, because fire that escapes from a prescribed burn accidentally may cause property damage, injuries, and even human casualties, purchasing insurance to cover such damages may be beneficial for prescribed burn practitioners. Given that insurance coverage for prescribed fire is recently emerging, factors that determine burners' decisions to purchase such insurance are largely unknown. On the basis of data from a survey of prescribed burn practitioners in 14 southern and midwestern states, we modeled prescribed burners' likelihood of purchasing insurance with respect to demographic characteristics, land management objectives, and importance placed on regulatory compliance and land use practices. Results suggest that prescribed burn practitioners are more likely to obtain such insurance if they are landowners themselves or have a written prescribed burn plan. Age of respondents and the level of importance they place on compliance with environmental laws also had a significant positive effect on the likelihood of obtaining insurance coverage. Respondents were less likely to purchase insurance if their land management objective was to control invasive plants or they considered the availability of lower-cost alternatives for woody plant removal an important factor in deciding whether or not to conduct prescribed burns. These findings shed light on underlying factors influencing insurance coverage for prescribed burning and are potentially beneficial for promoting the acquisition of insurance among burn practitioners.