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H.B. 275 Enrolled
AN ACT RELATING TO FORESTRY AND FIRE CONTROL; CLARIFYING
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE DIVISION OF FORESTRY, FIRE AND STATE LANDS;
EXPANDING RULEMAKING POWERS OF THE DIVISION; ALLOWING MONEY
IN THE WILDLAND FIRE SUPPRESSION FUND TO BE USED FOR
PRESUPPRESSION COSTS, SUBJECT TO THE LEGISLATIVE APPROPRIATION
TO THE FUND FOR THOSE COSTS; INCREASING THE CAP ON THE FUND;
ALLOWING THE DIVISION TO WAIVE A PORTION OF A COUNTY'S FINANCIAL
OBLIGATION FOR FIRE SUPPRESSION COSTS; MAKING TECHNICAL
CHANGES; AND PROVIDING A REPEAL DATE.
This act affects sections of Utah Code Annotated 1953 as follows:
65A-8-1, as last amended by Chapter 294, Laws of Utah 1994
65A-8-6, as last amended by Chapter 331, Laws of Utah 1996
65A-8-6.1, as enacted by Chapter 331, Laws of Utah 1996
65A-8-6.2, as enacted by Chapter 331, Laws of Utah 1996
65A-8-6.3, as enacted by Chapter 331, Laws of Utah 1996
65A-8-6.4, as enacted by Chapter 331, Laws of Utah 1996
63-55b-6501, Utah Code Annotated 1953
65A-8-6.5, Utah Code Annotated 1953
65A-8-6.6, Utah Code Annotated 1953
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
Section 1. Section 63-55b-6501 is enacted to read:
63-55b-6501. Repeal date - Section 65A-8-6.6.
Section 65A-8-6.6 is repealed July 1, 1998.
Section 2. Section 65A-8-1 is amended to read:
65A-8-1. Division of responsibilities for fire control and the preservation of forest,
watershed, and other lands -- Reciprocal agreements for fire protection.
(1) The division shall determine and execute the best methods for protecting private and
public property by:
(a) preventing the origin and spread of fire on nonfederal forest, range, and watershed lands
in unincorporated areas of the state;
(b) protecting nonfederal forest and watershed areas on conservation principles; and
(c) encouraging private landowners in preserving, protecting, and managing forest and other
lands throughout the state.
(2) The division shall take action it considers necessary to control wildland fires and protect
life and property on the nonfederal forest, range, and watershed lands within unincorporated areas
of the state.
(3) The division may enter into agreements with public or private agencies, or individuals
for the express purpose of protecting, managing, or rehabilitating those lands.
(4) The division may enter into a reciprocal agreement with any fire protection organization,
including federal agencies, to provide fire protection for land and improvements for which the
organization normally provides fire protection.
Section 3. Section 65A-8-6 is amended to read:
65A-8-6. Cooperative fire protection agreements with counties.
(1) The county legislative body of any county may enter into a cooperative agreement with
the division to receive financial and supervisory cooperation and assistance from the division.
(2) A county may not receive cooperation or assistance under Subsection (1) until a
cooperative agreement is executed by the county legislative body and the division.
(3) The state forester may execute the agreements and may divide the state into fire
(4) These districts shall provide efficient and economical fire protection within the area
(5) The districts may comprise one or more counties, or portions of counties to be specified
in the cooperative agreements.
(6) Under the terms of the cooperative agreements, the state forester shall file annual budgets
for operation of the cooperative districts with each participating county.
forester, and budgets an amount for actual fire suppression costs determined to be normal by the state
forester, the agreement shall commit the state to pay 1/2 the actual suppression costs that exceed the
stated normal costs.
Section 4. Section 65A-8-6.1 is amended to read:
65A-8-6.1. Wildland Fire Suppression Fund created.
(1) There is created an expendable trust fund known as the Wildland Fire Suppression Fund.
(2) The fund shall be administered by the division to pay fire suppression and presuppression
costs on eligible lands within unincorporated areas of counties.
(3) The contents of the fund shall include:
(a) payments by counties pursuant to written agreements made under Section 65A-8-6.2;
(b) interest and earnings from the investment of fund monies; and
(c) money appropriated by the Legislature.
(4) Fund monies shall be invested by the state treasurer with the earnings and interest
accruing to the fund.
(5) (a) A maximum level of [
(b) (i) Except as provided in Subsection (b)(ii), if the amount of money in the fund equals
or exceeds [
(ii) The waiver of assessments provided in Subsection (b)(i) does not apply to any equity
payment required by Section 65A-8-6.2.
Section 5. Section 65A-8-6.2 is amended to read:
65A-8-6.2. Agreements for coverage by the Wildland Fire Suppression Fund -- Eligible
lands -- County and state obligations -- Termination -- Revocation.
(1) (a) A county legislative body may annually enter into a written agreement with the state
forester to provide for payment of county fire suppression costs in excess of the county's fire
suppression budget out of the Wildland Fire Suppression Fund.
(b) Fire suppression costs on forest, range, and watershed lands within the unincorporated
area of a county, except federal or state lands, are eligible for coverage by the Wildland Fire
(2) An agreement for payment of fire suppression costs from the Wildland Fire Suppression
Fund shall provide that the county shall:
(a) pay into the fund an amount equal to:
(i) $.01 times the number of acres of privately- or county-owned land in the unincorporated
area of the county; and
(ii) .0001 times the taxable value of property in the unincorporated area of the county; and
(b) budget an amount for fire suppression costs determined to be normal by the state forester
in accordance with the formula specified [
(3) (a) After the first year of operation of the fund, any county that elects to initiate
participation in the fund, or reestablish participation in the fund after participation was terminated,
shall be required to make an equity payment, in addition to the assessment provided in Subsection
(b) The equity payment shall represent what the county's equity in the fund would be if the
county had made assessments into the fund for each of the previous three years.
(c) The equity payment shall be determined by the state forester in accordance with division
(4) The agreement shall provide that:
(a) the state shall pay into the fund an amount equal to the county's payment, including any
equity payment required under Subsection (3); and
(b) if monies in the fund are insufficient to pay for all eligible fire suppression costs, the
state shall pay for 1/2 of the county's remaining costs.
(5) The agreement shall provide for revocation of the agreement for failure to pay
assessments when due.
(6) Any county that elects to withdraw from participation in the fund, or whose participation
in the fund is revoked due to failure to pay its assessments when due, shall forfeit any right to any
previously paid assessments by the county.
Section 6. Section 65A-8-6.3 is amended to read:
65A-8-6.3. Disbursements from the Wildland Fire Suppression Fund.
forester or his authorized representative.
eligible costs in a program year, the state forester may delay making disbursements from the fund
until the close of the program year, at which time available monies shall be prorated among those
entitled to payments at less than 100%.
Section 7. Section 65A-8-6.4 is amended to read:
65A-8-6.4. Division to make rules governing Wildland Fire Suppression Fund.
The division shall make rules to administer the Wildland Fire Suppression Fund, including
(1) requiring documentation for the number of acres of privately- or county-owned land in
the unincorporated area of the participating counties;
(2) describing the method or formula for determining:
(a) normal fire suppression costs; and
(b) equity payments required by Section 65A-8-6.2; and
(3) specifying fire suppression and presuppression costs that may be paid with disbursements
from the fund.
Section 8. Section 65A-8-6.5 is enacted to read:
65A-8-6.5. Presuppression costs -- Disbursements from fund -- Credit against
assessment -- Limited by appropriation.
(1) The state forester or the state forester's authorized representative may make
disbursements from the Wildland Fire Suppression Fund to pay for costs of presuppression and fire
management activities initiated by counties participating in the fund, subject to the limitations
specified in this section.
(2) Payments to a county for costs of presuppression and fire management activities in any
year may not exceed the county's assessment under Subsection 65A-8-6.2(2)(a).
(3) In lieu of making a disbursement from the fund for a county's costs of presuppression
and fire management activities, the county may be given a credit against its assessment under
Subsection 65A-8-6.2(2)(a) equal to those costs. The credit may not exceed the county's assessment
under Subsection 65A-8-6.2(2)(a).
(4) The total amount of money in the fund that may be allocated to cover costs of
presuppression and fire management activities initiated by counties may not exceed the legislative
appropriation to the fund for those costs.
Section 9. Section 65A-8-6.6 is enacted to read:
65A-8-6.6. Waiver of a portion of a county's financial obligation for fire suppression
costs -- Amount.
(1) The division may waive a portion of a county's financial obligation to the division for
the county's share of actual fire suppression costs under the terms of an agreement made under
(2) A county is responsible for the portion of its financial obligation represented by an
amount equal to a one-year 5% increase in property tax collections. The division may waive all or
part of the remaining portion of a county's financial obligation.
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