Protecting big sky country

photo by  G. Beltz

photo by G. Beltz

From the sprawling grasslands of Texas and Brazil to South Africa and the Australian outback, regions around the world with big agriculture and ranching activity present a landscape that's vast, unpopulated, and priceless to those who work and govern it. In a recent whitepaper by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, insurance experts write about one of the biggest risks unique to big-sky country around the world: fire.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, on average, 20,000 agricultural-related fires cause $102 million in direct property losses and result in 25 fatalities each year. These types of fires typically are slightly more expensive than all other industrial fires—on average 9 percent higher—because the commercial value of crops is affected along with the property. Two-thirds of agricultural fires occur in fields or orchards, with the other one-third occurring in livestock or poultry operations. More than half of agricultural fires involve brush or grass, while about one-third are equipment fires that involve vehicles, processing equipment, fixed wiring, heaters and torches.
This combination of increased risk and high-value assets makes fire protection at farms and ranches a high priority. The first step in minimizing the fire risk is increased knowledge and awareness...