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Abstract

Prescribed fire is a useful but risky method for reducing general wildfire risk and improving wildlife habitat, biodiversity, timber growth, and agricultural forage. In the past the fifteen years, laws is some states have been adopted to support the use of prescribed fire. This article examines the effect of liability law and common regulations on the incidence and severity of escaped prescribed fires in the United States from 1970 to 2002. Regression results show that stringent statutory liability law and regulation tends to reduce the number and severity of escaped prescribed fires on private land, but not on federal land where state liability law does not directly apply.

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