Representative Casey Snider proposes the following substitute bill:




Chief Sponsor: Casey Snider

Senate Sponsor: Evan J. Vickers


8     General Description:
9          This bill addresses the state's management of wildfires.
10     Highlighted Provisions:
11          This bill:
12          ▸     addresses funding of county fire wardens;
13          ▸     provides for rulemaking authority;
14          ▸     defines terms;
15          ▸     requires the Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands to study the implementation
16     of a wildfire prevention and preparedness program;
17          ▸     addresses reporting requirements and potential legislation;
18          ▸     provides a repeal date for study; and
19          ▸     makes technical changes.
20     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
21          None
22     Other Special Clauses:
23          None
24     Utah Code Sections Affected:
25     AMENDS:

26          63I-2-265, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2014, Chapter 313
27          65A-8-209.1, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2021, Chapter 97
28     ENACTS:
29          65A-8-214, Utah Code Annotated 1953

31     Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
32          Section 1. Section 63I-2-265 is amended to read:
33          63I-2-265. Repeal dates -- Title 65A.
34          Section 65A-8-214, wildfire prevention and preparedness program and study, is
35     repealed July 1, 2023.
36          Section 2. Section 65A-8-209.1 is amended to read:
37          65A-8-209.1. County fire warden.
38          (1) [(a) A] As used in this section, "participating county" means a county that
39     participates in a cooperative agreement with the division, as described in Section 65A-8-203[,
40     shall be represented by a].
41          (2) (a) A county fire warden who is employed by the division as a county fire warden
42     full-time and year round shall represent a participating county, except as provided in
43     Subsections [(1)] (2)(b) and (c).
44          (b) A county of the fifth class that, as of January 1, 2016, is cost-sharing a county fire
45     warden with an adjacent county may continue to do so with the approval of the state forester.
46          (c) A county of the sixth class may cost-share a county fire warden with an adjacent
47     county, with the approval of the state forester.
48          [(2)] (3) (a) The salary and benefits paid to a county fire warden shall be:
49          [(a)] (i) divided by the division and the county; or
50          [(b)] (ii) paid partly by the division with the remainder shared by agreement between
51     the counties the county fire warden represents.
52          (b) The division may annually increase the amount agreed to for the county portion if:
53          (i) the increase takes effect at the beginning of a calendar year;
54          (ii) the division provides the participating county six months notice before the increase
55     takes effect; and
56          (iii) the increase is based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers as

57     published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor, in
58     accordance with a formula established by the division by rule made in accordance with Title
59     63G, Chapter 3, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act.
60          [(3)] (4) (a) The division shall employ the county fire wardens.
61          (b) An individual who is employed by a county as a county fire warden on or before
62     January 1, 2016, is not subject to the requirement to be employed by the division.
63          Section 3. Section 65A-8-214 is enacted to read:
64          65A-8-214. Wildfire prevention and preparedness program -- Study.
65          (1) As used in this section:
66          (a) "Defensible space" means the area adjacent to a structure where wildfire
67     preparedness actions are implemented to provide defense from an approaching wildfire or to
68     minimize the spread of a structure fire to wildlands or surrounding areas.
69          (b) "Qualifying property" means real property that the division determines, by using the
70     mapping tool maintained under Subsection 65A-8-203(8), is at high risk for wildfire.
71          (c) "Wildfire preparedness action" means one or more acts engaged in by a person or
72     contracted for by a person that reduce the risk of wildfire on the person's qualifying property.
73          (2) (a) The division shall study the creation of a wildfire prevention and preparedness
74     program. As part of this study the division may evaluate different options to administer the
75     wildfire prevention and preparedness program, including a prevention and preparedness fee
76     imposed on qualifying property.
77          (b) The study required by this Subsection (2) shall include recommendations on:
78          (i) how the division may determine qualifying property, wildfire preparedness action,
79     and defensible space;
80          (ii) how the amount of a prevention and preparedness fee is to be calculated;
81          (iii) how often a person would be required to pay a prevention and preparedness fee;
82          (iv) whether to provide for a follow up reassessment schedule for administration of the
83     wildfire prevention and preparedness program;
84          (v) how to collect a prevention and preparedness fee; and
85          (vi) how the division shall administer the revenue from a prevention and preparedness
86     fee.
87          (c) The division may work with other state agencies, including the State Tax

88     Commission, to determine recommendations on the collection method to be used to collect a
89     prevention and preparedness fee.
90          (3) (a) By no later than the 2022 November interim meeting, the division shall report
91     the division's findings of the study required by Subsection (2) to the Natural Resources,
92     Agriculture, and Environment Interim Committee.
93          (b) After receiving the report required under Subsection (3)(a), the Natural Resources,
94     Agriculture, and Environment Interim Committee may prepare legislation that the Legislature
95     may consider to implement a wildfire prevention and preparedness program.