Law regulating open burning in Missouri is found in the Code of State Regulations, Rules of the Department of Natural Resources, Division 10, Chapter 6, 10 CSR 10-6.045, Open Burning Requirements. Paragraph 3, sub-paragraph (I) on page 48 of the document, though it does not specifically mention prescribed burning, is applicable.
Missouri DNR has created a fact sheet which summarizes the law related to prescribed burning under the section, Open Burning in Agricultural, Natural Resource or Land Management Operations.
There are no restrictions or burn permits required on prescribed burning for natural resource management with the exception of, if burning between the dates of April 15 and September 15 in an ozone nonattainment area, you must notify the staff director (interpreted to mean DNR) in writing 48 hours prior to conducting the burn. The department reserves the right to delay the burn.
Section 107(d)(1)(A) of the Clean Air Act defines a nonattainment area as any area that does not meet or that contributes to nearby areas not meeting the ambient air quality standard. Nonattainment areas are subject to change.
Click below for guidance to find local regulations.
The Missouri Prescribed Burning Act enacted into law August 28, 2021 defines simple negligence pertaining to liability.
With thanks to bill sponsors Representative Tim Taylor and Senator Mike Bernskoetter, the support from Governor Mike Parson, and Missouri citizens, House Bill No. 369, Section 537.354 on pages 10-11 defines prescribed burning and liability pertaining to prescribed burning as follows: Prescribed Burning Act.
537.354. 1. This section shall be known and may be cited as the "Prescribed Burning Act".
2. As used in this section, the following terms mean:
(1) "Agent of an owner of land", any person who has permission from a landowner to participate in a prescribed burning on the landowner's property;
(2) "Certified prescribed burn manager", a person who successfully completes a prescribed burn certification program approved by the Missouri department of conservation;
(3) "Prescribed burn plan", a written plan that is in a format approved by the Missouri department of conservation establishing the conditions and methods to perform a prescribed burning;
(4) "Prescribed burning", the planned and controlled application of fire to existing vegetative fuels in order to accomplish one or more specific land management objectives including, but not limited to, vegetative fuel reduction, silvicultural treatments, wildlife habitat improvement, and management of grassland and other plant communities.
3. No owner of land or agent of an owner of land shall be liable for damage, injury, or loss caused by a prescribed burning or the resulting smoke of a prescribed burning unless the owner of land or agent of an owner of land is proven to be negligent.
4. No certified prescribed burn manager shall be liable for damage, injury, or loss caused by a prescribed burning or the resulting smoke of a prescribed burning conducted under a prescribed burn plan unless the certified prescribed burn manager is proven to be negligent.
5. The provisions of subsections 3 and 4 of this section shall not apply to any damage, injury, or loss caused by a prescribed burning or the resulting smoke from a prescribed burning to any of the following:
(1) Property, lands, rights-of-way, or easements owned by a public utility or municipally owned utility;
(2) Property, lands, rights-of-way, or easements owned by a rural electric cooperative organized or operating under the provisions of chapter 394, or any corporation organized on a nonprofit or cooperative basis as described in subsection 1 of section 394.200, or any electrical corporation operating under a cooperative business plan as described in subsection 2 of section 393.110; or
(3) Property, lands, rights-of-way, or easements appurtenant or incidental to lands controlled by any railroad.
Farm policies MAY cover prescribed fire liability on the policy holder’s property. Check with your insurance carrier prior to burning to verify you have coverage.
Common commercial insurance lines do not carry prescribed fire insurance, only specialized companies. The following link provides guidance on insurance and lists several companies providing insurance. NOTE: the survey identifying insurance carriers was last updated in 2015; some agencies may no longer offer coverage or changed their criteria for issuing a policy.
The MPFC is in the process of creating a document regarding the Prescribed Burning Act and liability to be shared with insurance companies in effort to make coverage more affordable and obtainable.