Action Alert: New Mexico Prescribed Burning Act

New Mexico House Bill 57 (HB 57), the Prescribed Burning Act, would establish that a private landowner has the right to conduct prescribed burns, provided that the prescribed burn is conducted with appropriate precautionary measures and abides by any restrictions on prescribed burning issued by the State Forester, a county, or a municipality due to drought conditions

In addition, HB 57 establishes a voluntary training and certification program for private landowners and contractors interested in conducting prescribed burns. The bill also requires the State Forestry Division (SFD) to develop a model prescribed burn permit for use by counties or municipalities, and defines statutory liability for individuals who plan and use prescribed burning on private lands. Finally, and importantly, the bill states that private landowners, contractors, and other private practitioners are liable for civil damages if found negligent in starting, controlling, or extinguishing a prescribed burn.

The National Deer Association (NDA) is dedicated to ensuring the future of wild deer, wildlife habitat and hunting. Prescribed, controlled fire is an efficient and effective tool to modify and improve wildlife habitat for wild deer, as well as countless other species. It’s important that landowners and managers have the ability to use prescribed fire under clear liability definitions. The Prescribed Burning Act provides these definitions. The bill also provides an incentive to landowners and contractors to seek voluntary prescribed fire training and certification, use a burn plan, and ultimately be more responsible for the burns they conduct.

Please consider joining NDA in supporting the wildlife habitat-supporting provisions found in HB 57. CLICK HERE to contact your lawmakers – let them know you support this important legislation.

About Torin Miller

Torin Miller is a licensed attorney and NDA’s Director of Policy. He works at the intersection of conservation and natural resources law, policy, advocacy and education. He has a bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University, a J.D. from Penn State Law and is finishing a master's degree in wildlife and fisheries science at Penn State. Torin came to NDA via the National Deer Alliance, where he served as the Policy and Outreach Coordinator.