Liability Committee

Liability Committee

Chair: Mark Horn, Conservation Journalist 

For more information on our Liability Committee, or to join the committee, please contact Mark Horn. Participation in the committee is open to any interested member of the WPFC.

Our Mission

The Liability Committee strives to find affordable and attainable insurance for not-for-profit organizations, contractors, and businesses. We are in the process of reestablishing the liability committee and plan to work with insurance companies to better understand what is needed to support and provide prescribed fire insurance and liability.

2022 Prescribed Fire Insurance

Liability insurance is necessary to provide protection for those who plan, direct or perform the act of prescribed burning on non-federal lands. This is because their actions cause ignition, management and extinguishment of prescribed fire. However, the lack of liability insurance is cited frequently as a major barrier to the increased use of prescribed fire. The WPFC Liability Committee continues to work with stakeholders to increase access to prescribed fire liability insurance. Progress is being made by two insurance industry pioneers to create informed insurance capacity for potential liability arising from prescribed burn activity.

Please see the July 2022 WPFC Liability White Paper on updates and a new opportunity to access prescribed fire liability insurance. Please direct inquiries to links and contact information in linked document above. Please share with your colleagues and partners who have an interest in prescribed fire!

Past Involvement

In 2006, we worked with a private firm to develop an actuarial analysis (determined risk) for prescribed fire that will help insurance companies develop policies based on historical claim data. In the past, there has been a reluctance on the part of insurance companies to cover prescribed fire practitioners due to a lack of data. Click here to review the full report!

We offered data from our collective Wisconsin prescribed fire experience to this effort. A market analysis of demand for prescribed fire insurance was not funded by the Joint Fire Council. We will continue to look for funding to ensure insurance for the prescribed fire community. Click here for a report summary.

Additional Resources

  • Article from from Washington State University School of Economic Sciences “Liability, regulation and endogenous risk: Incidence and severity of escaped prescribed fires in the United States”
  • Article from 1993 Proceedings of the Midwest Oak Savanna Conference “Legal Liability Exposures Created By Prescribed Burning”
  • Landowner Guide to Wildfire Safety (Cutter Law, Sacramento Califonia)