590.02 Division powers, authority, and duties; liability; building structures; Florida Center for Wildfire and Forest Resources Management Training.
590.081 Severe drought conditions; burning prohibited.
590.082 Extraordinary fire hazard; certain acts made unlawful; proclamations by the Governor.
590.091 Designation of railroad rights-of-way as wildfire hazard areas.
590.10 Disposing of lighted substances, etc.
590.11 Recreational fires.
590.125 Open burning authorized by the division.
590.13 Civil liability.
590.14 Notice of violation; penalties.
590.15 Burden of proof.
590.25 Penalty for preventing or obstructing extinguishment of wildfires.
590.27 Penalty for mutilating or destroying forestry or fire control signs and posters.
590.28 Intentional or reckless burning of lands.
590.29 Illegal possession of incendiary device.
590.31 Southeastern Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact.
590.32 Compact; effective date; ratification.
590.33 State compact administrator; compact advisory committee.
590.34 State compact administrator and compact advisory committee members; powers; aid from other state agencies.
590.35 Construction of ss. 590.31-590.34.
590.42 Federally funded fire protection assistance programs.
590.50 Sale of cypress products prohibited without permit.
590.61 Forestry arson alert program.
590.01 Wildfire protection.—The division has the primary responsibility for prevention, detection, and suppression of wildfires wherever they may occur. The division shall provide leadership and direction in the evaluation, coordination, allocation of resources, and monitoring of wildfire management and protection. The division shall promote natural resource management and fuel reduction through the use of prescribed fire and other fuel reduction measures.
590.015 Definitions.—As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) “Division” means the Division of Forestry of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(2) “Fire management services” means presuppression fireline plowing, contract prescribed burning, prescribed and wildfire management training, and other activities associated with prevention, detection, and suppression of wildfires.
(3) “Fuel reduction” means the application of techniques that reduce vegetative fuels, and may include prescribed burning, manual and mechanical clearing, and the use of herbicides.
(4) “Wildfire” means any vegetative fire that threatens to destroy life, property, or natural resources.
(5) “Wild land” means any public or private managed or unmanaged forest, urban/interface, pasture or range land, recreation lands, or any other land at risk of wildfire.
History.—s. 2, ch. 99-292; s. 31, ch. 2000-308.
590.02 Division powers, authority, and duties; liability; building structures; Florida Center for Wildfire and Forest Resources Management Training.—
(1) The division has the following powers, authority, and duties:
(a) To enforce the provisions of this chapter;
(b) To prevent, detect, suppress, and extinguish wildfires wherever they may occur on public or private land in this state and to do all things necessary in the exercise of such powers, authority, and duties;
(c) To provide firefighting crews, who shall be under the control and direction of the division and its designated agents;
(d) To appoint center managers, forest area supervisors, forestry program administrators, a forest protection bureau chief, a forest protection assistant bureau chief, a field operations bureau chief, deputy chiefs of field operations, district managers, senior forest rangers, investigators, forest rangers, firefighter rotorcraft pilots, and other employees who may, at the division’s discretion, be certified as forestry firefighters pursuant to s. 633.35(4). Other provisions of law notwithstanding, center managers, district managers, forest protection assistant bureau chief, and deputy chiefs of field operations shall have Selected Exempt Service status in the state personnel designation;
(e) To develop a training curriculum for forestry firefighters which must contain the basic volunteer structural fire training course approved by the Florida State Fire College of the Division of State Fire Marshal and a minimum of 250 hours of wildfire training;
(f) To make rules to accomplish the purposes of this chapter;
(g) To provide fire management services and emergency response assistance and to set and charge reasonable fees for performance of those services. Moneys collected from such fees shall be deposited into the Incidental Trust Fund of the division; and
(h) To require all state, regional, and local government agencies operating aircraft in the vicinity of an ongoing wildfire to operate in compliance with the applicable state Wildfire Aviation Plan.
(2) Division employees, and the firefighting crews under their control and direction, may enter upon any lands for the purpose of preventing and suppressing wildfires and investigating smoke complaints or open burning not in compliance with authorization and to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
(3) Employees of the division and of federal, state, and local agencies, and all other persons and entities that are under contract or agreement with the division to assist in firefighting operations as well as those entities, called upon by the division to assist in firefighting may, in the performance of their duties, set counterfires, remove fences and other obstacles, dig trenches, cut firelines, use water from public and private sources, and carry on all other customary activities in the fighting of wildfires without incurring liability to any person or entity.
(4) The department may build structures, notwithstanding chapters 216 and 255, not to exceed a cost of $50,000 per structure from existing resources on forest lands, federal excess property, and unneeded existing structures. These structures must meet all applicable building codes.
(5) The division shall organize its operational units to most effectively prevent, detect, and suppress wildfires, and to that end, may employ the necessary personnel to manage its activities in each unit. The division may construct lookout towers, roads, bridges, firelines, and other facilities and may purchase or fabricate tools, supplies, and equipment for firefighting. The division may reimburse the public and private entities that it engages to assist in the suppression of wildfires for their personnel and equipment, including aircraft.
(6) The division shall undertake privatization alternatives for fire prevention activities including constructing fire lines and conducting prescribed burns and, where appropriate, entering into agreements or contracts with the private sector to perform such activities.
(7) The division may organize, staff, equip, and operate the Florida Center for Wildfire and Forest Resources Management Training. The center shall serve as a site where fire and forest resource managers can obtain current knowledge, techniques, skills, and theory as they relate to their respective disciplines.
(a) The center may establish cooperative efforts involving federal, state, and local entities; hire appropriate personnel; and engage others by contract or agreement with or without compensation to assist in carrying out the training and operations of the center.
(b) The center shall provide wildfire suppression training opportunities for rural fire departments, volunteer fire departments, and other local fire response units.
(c) The center will focus on curriculum related to, but not limited to, fuel reduction, an incident management system, prescribed burning certification, multiple-use land management, water quality, forest health, environmental education, and wildfire suppression training for structural firefighters.
(d) The center may assess appropriate fees for food, lodging, travel, course materials, and supplies in order to meet its operational costs and may grant free meals, room, and scholarships to persons and other entities in exchange for instructional assistance.
(e) An advisory committee consisting of the following individuals or their designees must review program curriculum, course content, and scheduling: the Director of the Florida Division of Forestry; the Assistant Director of the Florida Division of Forestry; the Director of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation of the University of Florida; the Director of the Division of Recreation and Parks of the Department of Environmental Protection; the Director of the Division of the State Fire Marshal; the Director of the Florida Chapter of The Nature Conservancy; the Executive Vice President of the Florida Forestry Association; the President of the Florida Farm Bureau Federation; the Executive Director of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; the Executive Director of a Water Management District as appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture; the Supervisor of the National Forests in Florida; the President of the Florida Fire Chief’s Association; and the Executive Director of the Tall Timbers Research Station.
(8) The Cross City Work Center shall be named the L. Earl Peterson Forestry Station. This is to honor Mr. L. Earl Peterson, Florida’s sixth state forester, whose distinguished career in state government has spanned 44 years, and who is a native of Dixie County.
History.—s. 14, ch. 17029, 1935; CGL 1936 Supp. 4151(10-ss); s. 1, ch. 26915, 1951; s. 1, ch. 57-55; ss. 2, 3, ch. 67-371; ss. 14, 31, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 77-70; s. 1, ch. 79-91; s. 142, ch. 79-190; s. 231, ch. 79-400; s. 1, ch. 80-40; s. 1, ch. 81-111; s. 2, ch. 83-178; s. 2, ch. 86-59; s. 3, ch. 88-321; s. 1, ch. 92-187; s. 8, ch. 92-290; s. 103, ch. 92-291; s. 23, ch. 96-231; s. 9, ch. 97-220; s. 3, ch. 99-292; s. 76, ch. 2000-154; s. 27, ch. 2000-197; s. 39, ch. 2002-295.
590.081 Severe drought conditions; burning prohibited.—
(1) The Commissioner of Agriculture may declare a severe drought emergency to exist and describe the general boundaries of the area affected.
(2) Any declaration by the Commissioner of Agriculture under authority of this section shall be effective immediately upon being filed with the Department of State and shall remain in full force and effect until conditions warrant a revocation. In order to end the declaration, the commissioner must file a revocation of the declaration with the Department of State.
(3) It is unlawful for any person to set fire to, or cause fire to be set to, any wild lands or to build a campfire or bonfire or to burn trash or other debris within the designated area of a severe drought emergency unless a written permit is obtained from the division or its designated agent.
(4) Any person violating any of the provisions of this section commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.—ss. 1-5, ch. 57-246; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 71-64; s. 614, ch. 71-136; s. 1, ch. 75-264; s. 4, ch. 99-292.
590.082 Extraordinary fire hazard; certain acts made unlawful; proclamations by the Governor.—
(1) When the Commissioner of Agriculture has declared a severe drought emergency to exist and described the general boundaries of the area affected as prescribed in s. 590.081 and the drought emergency continues until the wild lands become so dry or parched as to create an extraordinary fire hazard, the commissioner will advise the Governor that because of prolonged severe drought conditions an extraordinary fire hazard that could endanger life or property exists on wild lands.
(2) The Governor may by proclamation declare an extraordinary fire hazard to exist and describe the general boundaries of the area affected. Any proclamation promulgated by the Governor under authority of this section shall be effective immediately upon filing same with the Department of State and shall remain in effect until, when conditions warrant, an order of revocation of proclamation is made by the Governor and filed with the Department of State.
(3) It is unlawful for any person, except the owner or his or her agents, or persons with express permission of the landowner, or other persons regularly engaged in harvesting, processing, or moving forest or farm products, to enter or travel in any public or private wild land within the area described by proclamation, except on public roads or highways or on well-defined private roads.
(4) Any person violating any of the provisions of this section commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.—s. 1, ch. 71-293; s. 1, ch. 75-264; s. 955, ch. 97-103; s. 5, ch. 99-292.
590.091 Designation of railroad rights-of-way as wildfire hazard areas.—
(1) The division may annually designate, on or before October 1, those railroad rights-of-way in this state which are known wildfire hazard areas.
(2) It shall be the duty of all railroad companies operating in this state to maintain their rights-of-way designated as provided in subsection (1), as known wildfire hazard areas, in an approved condition as shall be prescribed by rule of the division and to provide adequate firebreaks where needed, so as to prevent fire from igniting or spreading from rights-of-way to adjacent property.
History.—s. 1, ch. 78-158; s. 81, ch. 93-169; s. 6, ch. 99-292.
590.10 Disposing of lighted substances, etc.—
(1) It is unlawful for any person to throw, drop, or dispose of a lighted match, cigarette, cigar, ashes, or other flaming or glowing substance, or any substance or thing which may or does cause a wildfire.
(2) Anyone who violates this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(1) It is unlawful for any individual or group of individuals to build a warming fire, bonfire, or campfire and leave it unattended or unextinguished.
(2) Anyone who violates this section commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.—s. 12, ch. 17029, 1935; CGL 1936 Supp. 4151(10-qq); s. 8, ch. 99-292; s. 40, ch. 2002-295.
590.125 Open burning authorized by the division.—
(1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Prescribed burning” means the controlled application of fire in accordance with a written prescription for vegetative fuels under specified environmental conditions while following appropriate precautionary measures that ensure that the fire is confined to a predetermined area to accomplish the planned fire or land-management objectives.
(b) “Certified prescribed burn manager” means an individual who successfully completes the certification program of the division and possesses a valid certification number.
(c) “Prescription” means a written plan establishing the criteria necessary for starting, controlling, and extinguishing a prescribed burn.
(d) “Extinguished” means that no spreading flame for wild land burning or certified prescribed burning, and no visible flame, smoke, or emissions for vegetative land-clearing debris burning, exist.
(2) NONCERTIFIED BURNING.—
(a) Persons may be authorized to burn wild land or vegetative land-clearing debris in accordance with this subsection if:
1. There is specific consent of the landowner or his or her designee;
2. Authorization has been obtained from the division or its designated agent before starting the burn;
3. There are adequate firebreaks at the burn site and sufficient personnel and firefighting equipment for the control of the fire;
4. The fire remains within the boundary of the authorized area;
5. Someone is present at the burn site until the fire is extinguished;
6. The division does not cancel the authorization; and
7. The division determines that air quality and fire danger are favorable for safe burning.
(b) A person who burns wild land or vegetative land-clearing debris in a manner that violates any requirement of this subsection commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(3) CERTIFIED PRESCRIBED BURNING; LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.—
(a) The application of prescribed burning is a land management tool that benefits the safety of the public, the environment, and the economy of the state. The Legislature finds that:
1. Prescribed burning reduces vegetative fuels within wild land areas. Reduction of the fuel load reduces the risk and severity of wildfire, thereby reducing the threat of loss of life and property, particularly in urban areas.
2. Most of Florida’s natural communities require periodic fire for maintenance of their ecological integrity. Prescribed burning is essential to the perpetuation, restoration, and management of many plant and animal communities. Significant loss of the state’s biological diversity will occur if fire is excluded from fire-dependent systems.
3. Forestland and rangeland constitute significant economic, biological, and aesthetic resources of statewide importance. Prescribed burning on forestland prepares sites for reforestation, removes undesirable competing vegetation, expedites nutrient cycling, and controls or eliminates certain forest pathogens. On rangeland, prescribed burning improves the quality and quantity of herbaceous vegetation necessary for livestock production.
4. The state purchased hundreds of thousands of acres of land for parks, preserves, wildlife management areas, forests, and other public purposes. The use of prescribed burning for management of public lands is essential to maintain the specific resource values for which these lands were acquired.
5. A public education program is necessary to make citizens and visitors aware of the public safety, resource, and economic benefits of prescribed burning.
6. Proper training in the use of prescribed burning is necessary to ensure maximum benefits and protection for the public.
7. As Florida’s population continues to grow, pressures from liability issues and nuisance complaints inhibit the use of prescribed burning. Therefore, the division is urged to maximize the opportunities for prescribed burning conducted during its daytime and nighttime authorization process.
(b) Certified prescribed burning pertains only to broadcast burning. It must be conducted in accordance with this subsection and:
1. May be accomplished only when a certified prescribed burn manager is present on site with a copy of the prescription from ignition of the burn to its completion.
2. Requires that a written prescription be prepared before receiving authorization to burn from the division.
3. Requires that the specific consent of the landowner or his or her designee be obtained before requesting an authorization.
4. Requires that an authorization to burn be obtained from the division before igniting the burn.
5. Requires that there be adequate firebreaks at the burn site and sufficient personnel and firefighting equipment for the control of the fire.
6. Is considered to be in the public interest and does not constitute a public or private nuisance when conducted under applicable state air pollution statutes and rules.
7. Is considered to be a property right of the property owner if vegetative fuels are burned as required in this subsection.
(c) Neither a property owner nor his or her agent is liable pursuant to s. 590.13 for damage or injury caused by the fire or resulting smoke or considered to be in violation of subsection (2) for burns conducted in accordance with this subsection unless gross negligence is proven.
(d) Any certified burner who violates this section commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(e) The division shall adopt rules for the use of prescribed burning and for certifying and decertifying certified prescribed burn managers based on their past experience, training, and record of compliance with this section.
(4) WILDFIRE HAZARD REDUCTION TREATMENT BY THE DIVISION.—The division may conduct fuel reduction initiatives, including, but not limited to, burning and mechanical and chemical treatment, on any area of wild land within the state which is reasonably determined to be in danger of wildfire in accordance with the following procedures:
(a) Describe the areas that will receive fuels treatment to the affected local governmental entity.
(b) Publish a treatment notice, including a description of the area to be treated, in a conspicuous manner in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the area of the treatment not less than 10 days before the treatment.
(c) Prepare, and the county tax collector shall include with the annual tax statement, a notice to be sent to all landowners in each township designated by the division as a wildfire hazard area. The notice must describe particularly the area to be treated and the tentative date or dates of the treatment and must list the reasons for and the expected benefits from the wildfire hazard reduction.
(d) Consider any landowner objections to the fuels treatment of his or her property. The landowner may apply to the director of the division for a review of alternative methods of fuel reduction on the property. If the director or his or her designee does not resolve the landowner objection, the director shall convene a panel made up of the local forestry unit manager, the fire chief of the jurisdiction, and the affected county or city manager, or any of their designees. If the panel’s recommendation is not acceptable to the landowner, the landowner may request further consideration by the Commissioner of Agriculture or his or her designee and shall thereafter be entitled to an administrative hearing pursuant to the provisions of chapter 120.
(5) DUTIES OF AGENCIES.—The Department of Education shall incorporate, where feasible and appropriate, the issues of fuels treatment, including prescribed burning, into its educational materials.
History.—s. 9, ch. 99-292; s. 41, ch. 2002-295; s. 21, ch. 2005-210.
590.13 Civil liability.—Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be liable for all damages caused by such violation, which damages shall be recoverable in any court of competent jurisdiction. The civil liability attaches whether or not there is criminal prosecution and conviction.
(1) If a division employee determines that a person has violated chapter 589 or this chapter, he or she may issue a notice of violation indicating the statute violated. This notice will be filed with the division and a copy forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement entity for further action if necessary.
(2) In addition to any penalties provided by law, any person who causes a wildfire or permits any authorized fire to escape the boundaries of the authorization or to burn past the time of the authorization is liable for the payment of all reasonable costs and expenses incurred in suppressing the fire or $150, whichever is greater. All costs and expenses incurred by the division shall be payable to the division. When such costs and expenses are not paid within 30 days after demand, the division may take proper legal proceedings for the collection of the costs and expenses. Those costs incurred by an agency acting at the division’s direction are recoverable by that agency.
(3) The department may also impose an administrative fine, not to exceed $1,000 per violation of any section of chapter 589 or this chapter. The fine shall be based upon the degree of damage, the prior violation record of the person, and whether the person knowingly provided false information to obtain an authorization. The fines shall be deposited in the Incidental Trust Fund of the division.
(4) The penalties provided in this section shall extend to both the actual violator and the person or persons, firm, or corporation causing, directing, or permitting the violation.
History.—s. 15, ch. 17029, 1935; CGL 1936 Supp. 7404(2); s. 1, ch. 20898, 1941; s. 2, ch. 26915, 1951; s. 615, ch. 71-136; s. 82, ch. 93-169; s. 11, ch. 99-292; s. 32, ch. 2000-308; s. 49, ch. 2002-295.
590.15 Burden of proof.—In any prosecution or civil action brought under the provisions of this chapter it shall not be necessary for the state or plaintiff to allege and prove absence of the right or authority of the defendant to set or cause to be set the fire, but such right and authority shall be a matter of affirmative defense to be alleged and proved by the defendant.
590.25 Penalty for preventing or obstructing extinguishment of wildfires.—Whoever shall interfere with, obstruct or commit any act aimed to obstruct the extinguishment of wildfires by the employees of the division or any other person engaged in the extinguishment of a wildfire, or who damages or destroys any equipment being used for such purpose, shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
History.—s. 1, ch. 26833, 1951; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 616, ch. 71-136; s. 13, ch. 99-292.
590.27 Penalty for mutilating or destroying forestry or fire control signs and posters.—Whoever intentionally breaks down, mutilates, removes, or destroys any fire control or forestry sign or poster commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.—s. 3, ch. 26833, 1951; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 617, ch. 71-136; s. 14, ch. 99-292.
590.28 Intentional or reckless burning of lands.—
(1) Whoever intentionally burns, sets fire to, or causes to be burned or causes any fire to be set to, any wild land or vegetative land clearing debris not owned by, or in the lawful possession of, the person setting such fire or burning such lands or causing such fire to be set or lands to be burned without complying with s. 590.125, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(2) Whoever recklessly burns, sets fire to, or causes to be burned any wild lands not owned by, or in the lawful possession of, the person setting the fire or burning the lands or causing the fire to be set or lands to be burned, commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.—s. 1, ch. 29919, 1955; s. 15, ch. 99-292; s. 33, ch. 2000-308.
590.29 Illegal possession of incendiary device.—
(1) It is unlawful for a person other than a certified fire or law enforcement instructor to have in his or her possession any incendiary device as defined by subsection (3) with the intent to use such device for the purpose of burning or setting fire to any wild land, if such person is not the owner of, nor, as under a lease, in lawful possession of, the wild land.
(2) The possession of any incendiary device as defined by subsection (3) is prima facie evidence of the intent of the person possessing such device to use such device for the purpose of burning or setting fire to wild land if such person is not the owner of the wild land.
(3) The term “incendiary device” as used in this section is included but not limited to any “slow match” which is any device contrived to accomplish the delayed ignition of a match or matches or other inflammable material by the use of a cigarette, rope, or candle to which such match or matches are attached, or a magnifying glass so focused as to intensify heat on inflammable material and thus cause a fire to start at a subsequent time, and any chemicals or chemically treated paper or material, or other combustible material so arranged or designed as to make possible its use as a delayed firing device.
(4) Anyone who violates this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
History.—s. 1, ch. 29919, 1955; s. 3, ch. 84-7; s. 957, ch. 97-103; s. 16, ch. 99-292.
590.31 Southeastern Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact.—The Governor on behalf of this state is hereby authorized to execute a compact, in substantially the following form, with any one or more of the States of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, and the Legislature hereby signifies in advance its approval and ratification of such compact:
SOUTHEASTERN INTERSTATE FOREST FIRE PROTECTION COMPACT
The purpose of this compact is to promote effective prevention and control of forest fires in the southeastern region of the United States by the development of integrated forest fire plans, by the maintenance of adequate forest firefighting services by the member states, by providing for mutual aid in fighting forest fires among the compacting states of the region and with states which are party to other regional forest fire protection compacts or agreements, and for more adequate forest protection.
This compact shall become operative immediately, as to those states ratifying it whenever any two or more of the States of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, which are contiguous have ratified it and congress has given consent thereto. Any state not mentioned in this article which is contiguous with any member state may become a party to this compact, subject to approval by the legislature of each of the member states.
In each state, the state forester or officer holding the equivalent position who is responsible for forest fire control shall act as compact administrator for that state and shall consult with like officials of the other member states and shall implement cooperation between such states in forest fire prevention and control.
The compact administrators of the member states shall coordinate the services of the member states and provide administrative integration in carrying out the purposes of this compact.
There shall be established an advisory committee of legislators, forestry commission representatives, and forestry or forest products industries representatives which shall meet from time to time with the compact administrators. Each member state shall name one member of the senate and one member of the house of representatives who shall be designated by that state’s commission on interstate cooperation, or if said commission cannot constitutionally designate the said members, they shall be designated in accordance with laws of that state; and the governor of each member state shall appoint two representatives, one of whom shall be associated with forestry or forest products industries to comprise the membership of the advisory committee. Action shall be taken by a majority of the compacting states, and each state shall be entitled to one vote.
The compact administrators shall formulate and, in accordance with need, from time to time, revise a regional forest fire plan for the member states.
It shall be the duty of each member state to formulate and put in effect a forest fire plan for that state and take such measures as may be necessary to integrate such forest fire plan with the regional forest fire plan formulated by the compact administrators.
Whenever the state forest fire control agency of a member state requests aid from the state forest fire control agency of any other member state in combating, controlling or preventing forest fires, it shall be the duty of the state forest fire control agency of that state to render all possible aid to the requesting agency which is consonant with the maintenance of protection at home.
Whenever the forces of any member state are rendering outside aid pursuant to the request of another member state under this compact, the employees of such state shall, under the direction of the officers of the state to which they are rendering aid, have the same powers (except the power of arrest), duties, rights, privileges and immunities as comparable employees of the state to which they are rendering aid.
No member state or its officers or employees rendering outside aid pursuant to this compact shall be liable on account of any act or omission on the part of such forces while so engaged, or on account of the maintenance, or use of any equipment or supplies in connection therewith; provided, that nothing herein shall be construed as relieving any person from liability for his or her own negligent act or omission or as imposing liability for such negligent act or omission upon any state.
All liability, except as otherwise provided hereinafter, that may arise either under the laws of the requesting state or under the laws of the aiding state or under the laws of a third state on account of or in connection with a request for aid, shall be assumed and borne by the requesting state.
Any member state rendering outside aid pursuant to this compact shall be reimbursed by the member state receiving such aid for any loss or damage to, or expense incurred in the operation of any equipment answering a request for aid, and for the cost of all materials, transportation, wages, salaries, and subsistence of employees and maintenance of equipment incurred in connection with such request; provided, that nothing herein contained shall prevent any assisting member state from assuming such loss, damage, expense or other cost or from loaning such equipment or from donating such service to the receiving member state without charge or cost.
Each member state shall provide for the payment of compensation and death benefits to injured employees and the representatives of deceased employees in case employees sustain injuries or are killed while rendering outside aid pursuant to this compact, in the same manner and on the same terms as if the injury or death were sustained within such state.
For the purposes of this compact the term employee shall include any volunteer or auxiliary legally included within the forest fire fighting forces of the aiding state under the laws thereof.
The compact administrators shall formulate procedures for claims and reimbursement under the provisions of this article, in accordance with the laws of the member states.
Ratification of this compact shall not be construed to affect any existing statute so as to authorize or permit curtailment or diminution of the forest firefighting forces, equipment, services or facilities of any member state.
Nothing in this compact shall be construed to limit or restrict the powers of any state ratifying the same to provide for the prevention, control and extinguishment of forest fires, or to prohibit the enactment or enforcement of state laws, rules or regulations intended to aid in such prevention, control and extinguishment in such state.
Nothing in this compact shall be construed to affect any existing or future cooperative relationship or arrangement between any federal agency and a member state or states.
The compact administrators may request the United States Forest Service to act as a research and coordinating agency of the Southeastern Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact in cooperation with the appropriate agencies in each state, and the United States Forest Service may accept responsibility for preparing and presenting to the compact administrators its recommendations with respect to the regional fire plan. Representatives of any federal agency engaged in forest fire prevention and control may attend meetings of the compact administrators.
The provisions of articles IV and V of this compact which relate to mutual aid in combating, controlling or preventing forest fires shall be operative as between any state party to this compact and any other state which is party to a regional forest fire protection compact in another region; provided, that the legislature of such other state shall have given its assent to such mutual aid provisions of this compact.
This compact shall continue in force and remain binding on each state ratifying it until the legislature or the governor of such state, as the laws of such state shall provide, takes action to withdraw therefrom. Such action shall not be effective until 6 months after notice thereof has been sent by the chief executive of the state desiring to withdraw to the chief executives of all states then parties to the compact.
History.—s. 1, ch. 29635, 1955; s. 958, ch. 97-103.
590.32 Compact; effective date; ratification.—When the Governor shall have executed the compact on behalf of this state and shall have caused a verified copy thereof to be filed with the Department of State and when the compact shall have been ratified by one or more of the states named in s. 590.31, then the compact shall become operative and effective as between this state and such other state or states. The Governor is hereby authorized and directed to take such action as may be necessary to complete the exchange of official documents as between this state and any other state ratifying the compact.
590.33 State compact administrator; compact advisory committee.—In pursuance of art. III of the compact, the director of the division shall act as compact administrator for Florida of the Southeastern Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact during his or her term of office as director, and his or her successor as compact administrator shall be his or her successor as director of the division. As compact administrator he or she shall be an ex officio member of the advisory committee of the Southeastern Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact, and chair ex officio of the Florida members of the advisory committee. There shall be four members of the Southeastern Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact Advisory Committee from Florida. Two of the members from Florida shall be members of the Legislature of Florida, one from the Senate and one from the House of Representatives, and the terms of any such members shall terminate at the time they cease to hold legislative office, and their successors as members shall be named in like manner. The Governor shall appoint the other two members from Florida, one of whom shall be associated with forestry or forest products industries. The terms of such members shall be 3 years and such members shall hold office until their respective successors shall be appointed and qualified. Vacancies occurring in the office of such members from any reason or cause shall be filled by appointment by the Governor for the unexpired term. The director of the division as compact administrator for Florida may delegate, from time to time, to any deputy or other subordinate in his or her department or office, the power to be present and participate, including voting as his or her representative or substitute at any meeting of or hearing by or other proceeding of the compact administrators or of the advisory committee. The terms of each of the initial four memberships, whether appointed at said time or not, shall begin upon the date upon which the compact shall become effective in accordance with art. II of said compact. Any member of the advisory committee may be removed from office by the Governor upon charges and after a hearing.
History.—s. 3, ch. 29635, 1955; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 959, ch. 97-103; s. 17, ch. 99-292; s. 156, ch. 2010-102.
590.34 State compact administrator and compact advisory committee members; powers; aid from other state agencies.—There is hereby granted to the director of the division, as compact administrator and chair ex officio of the Florida members of the advisory committee, and to the members from Florida of the advisory committee all the powers provided for in the compact and all the powers necessary or incidental to the carrying out of the compact in every particular. All officers of Florida are hereby authorized and directed to do all things falling within their respective provinces and jurisdiction necessary or incidental to the carrying out of the compact in every particular; it being hereby declared to be the policy of the state to perform and carry out the said compact and to accomplish the purposes thereof. All officers, bureaus, departments, and persons of and in the state government or administration of the state are hereby authorized and directed at convenient times and upon request of the compact administrator or of the advisory committee to furnish information data relating to the purposes of the compact possessed by them or any of them to the compact administrator of the advisory committee. They are further authorized to aid the compact administrator or the advisory committee by loan of personnel, equipment, or other means in carrying out the purposes of the compact.
History.—s. 4, ch. 29635, 1955; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 960, ch. 97-103; s. 18, ch. 99-292.
590.35 Construction of ss. 590.31-590.34.—Any powers herein granted to the division shall be regarded as in aid of and supplemental to and in no case a limitation upon any of the powers vested in the division by other laws of Florida or by the laws of the States of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia or by the Congress or the terms of the compact.
590.42 Federally funded fire protection assistance programs.—
(1) The Division of Forestry of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services may enter into agreements with the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States in order to participate in the Federal Rural Community Fire Protection Program authorized by Pub. L. No. 92-419, whereby the Federal Government provides financial assistance to the states on a matching basis of up to 50 percent of expenditures for such purposes.
(2) With respect to the formulation of projects relating to fire protection of livestock, wildlife, crops, pastures, orchards, rangeland, woodland, farmsteads, or other improvements, and other values in rural areas, for which such federal matching funds are available, any participating county or fire department may contribute to the nonfederal matching share and may also contribute such other nonfederal cooperation as may be deemed necessary by the division.
(3) The provisions of this section are supplementary to the provisions of s. 125.27.
History.—s. 1, ch. 73-243; s. 19, ch. 99-292.
590.50 Sale of cypress products prohibited without permit.—No person shall sell or offer for sale articles made from unfinished cross-sectional slabs cut from buttresses of trees of the species Taxodium distichum, commonly known as cypress, without first obtaining a permit from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, pursuant to s. 590.02. This section does not apply to the owner of the property on which the cypress trees were grown.
History.—s. 1, ch. 79-238; s. 1, ch. 84-347.
Note.—Former s. 581.188.
590.61 Forestry arson alert program.—The forestry arson alert program is hereby established within the department. The purpose of this program is to:
(1) Engage in any lawful activity to enhance public awareness of the economic costs, environmental damage, and cultural deprivations which accompany forest fires.
(2) Engage in any lawful activity to enhance public awareness of the importance of quick reports of forest arson and of accurate reporting of information to law enforcement officials to the apprehension of persons engaged in forest arson.
(3) Reward public-spirited citizens who cooperate with law enforcement officials in the apprehension and conviction of persons engaged in forest arson.
(4) Provide public recognition to public-spirited citizens who contribute to the prevention of forest arson through education programs and assistance to law enforcement officials.