Next Article in Journal
Classification of Landforms for Digital Soil Mapping in Urban Areas Using LiDAR Data Derived Terrain Attributes: A Case Study from Berlin, Germany
Previous Article in Journal
Public Food Procurement as a Driving Force for Building Local and Agroecological Food Systems: Farmers’ Skepticism in Vega Baja del Jarama, Madrid (Spain)
Article

Liability and the Use of Prescribed Fire in the Southern Plains, USA: A Survey of District Court Judges

1
Ecology and Conservation Biology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
2
Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Sidney, MT 59270, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Land 2020, 9(9), 318; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9090318
Received: 7 August 2020 / Revised: 3 September 2020 / Accepted: 7 September 2020 / Published: 9 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Land Socio-Economic and Political Issues)
Suppression of historical fire regimes has changed the composition and structure of many fire-dependent ecosystems, frequently resulting in decreased grazing productivity and biodiversity in grasslands and savannas. Land managers have attempted to reverse these trends through the application of prescribed fire, but regulations and liability concerns often deter them. District court judges play a key role in defining the legal context of prescribed burning by interpreting applicable statutes in personal injury or property damage cases resulting from escaped prescribed fire. However, information about the way judges interpret open burning statutes and regulations is difficult to obtain. We conducted a mail survey of district court judges in Texas and Oklahoma, USA to shed light on decisions judges might make presiding over an escaped fire case. The survey included questions regarding their perception of prescribed fire, their understanding of the laws affecting prescribed burning, and hypothetical questions to determine how they would apply relevant law in an escaped fire case. We found that judges cited fewer factors as evidence of gross negligence than simple negligence. This suggests that a shift toward a gross negligence liability standard for escaped prescribed fire cases might result in fewer findings of prescribed burner liability. View Full-Text
Keywords: prescribed burning; burn ban; county judges; legal statutes; simple negligence; gross negligence; wildfire prescribed burning; burn ban; county judges; legal statutes; simple negligence; gross negligence; wildfire
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

MDPI and ACS Style

Hinojosa, A.; Kreuter, U.P.; Wonkka, C.L. Liability and the Use of Prescribed Fire in the Southern Plains, USA: A Survey of District Court Judges. Land 2020, 9, 318. https://doi.org/10.3390/land9090318

AMA Style

Hinojosa A, Kreuter UP, Wonkka CL. Liability and the Use of Prescribed Fire in the Southern Plains, USA: A Survey of District Court Judges. Land. 2020; 9(9):318. https://doi.org/10.3390/land9090318

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hinojosa, Alissa, Urs P. Kreuter, and Carissa L. Wonkka. 2020. "Liability and the Use of Prescribed Fire in the Southern Plains, USA: A Survey of District Court Judges" Land 9, no. 9: 318. https://doi.org/10.3390/land9090318

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop