Fire Fighting Costs

Res #: 19-02M
Number: 19
Year: 2002
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Environment

Resolution 19-02M

WHEREAS, some municipalities have incurred large fire-fighting costs due to extremely dry conditions; and 

WHEREAS, in many cases Saskatchewan Environment has been called upon to help with various equipment and men; and

WHEREAS, Saskatchewan Environment costs can be substantial when requiring water bombers for fire protection and suppression; and WHEREAS, these costs are more than most rural municipalities can absorb;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that SARM lobby the Provincial Government to have Saskatchewan Environment eliminate charging fire-fighting costs to a municipality.

Response From Honourable Buckley Belanger:

Resolution 19 requests government to waive the financial responsibility for municipalities in the event of wildfire suppression costs in their areas where Saskatchewan Environment has been requested to assist municipalities or where SE has taken action to protect the provincial forest, burning permit area, provincial parks, recreation sites, and vacant Crown land.

In July 2002, government announced a one-time cost forgiveness for fire suppression assistance by SE due to the extreme nature of the fire season and unprecedented costs for wildland fire suppression in municipalities. The formula was based on taxable assessment and would see government forgiving an estimated $3.3 million of approximately $4.8 million in expenditures to suppress 38 fires in 21 municipalities.

Administrative jurisdictions in the province are assigned the responsibility for suppressing wildfire within its boundaries as prescribed in The Prairie and Forest Fires Act,1982. If a wildfire point of origin is on Crown Land and burns into a municipality, the province assumes responsibility for fire suppression efforts. When wildfires start in an area of municipal responsibility and burn into Crown land, the municipality pays the suppression costs.

The intent of this 'point of origin" responsibility for fire control and extinguishment is that it encourages all municipal jurisdictions to prepare for handling wildfire. Since the province is mandated to respond to wildfires on the vast Crown land areas across the province, the local municipal level is the best place for the development of jurisdiction specific, cost-effective wildland fire prevention/suppression solutions.

The response of government recognizes the responsibility of municipalities to provide services including fire prevention and suppression, by the most cost effective means.