Responsibility for Controlling and Extinguishing Fires

Res #: 11-07A
Number: 11
Year: 2007
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Environment

Resolution 11-07A
Responsibility for Controlling and Extinguishing Fires

WHEREAS, Section 8 of The Prairie and Forest Fires Act, 1982, places the responsibility for controlling and extinguishing fires onto the rural municipalities; and

WHEREAS, Sections 11, 11.1, and 12 of The Prairie and Forest Fires Act, 1982, allow the Provincial Government to recover costs of fire suppression by provincial resources from rural, urban, and northern municipal governments; and

WHEREAS, municipal governments may be required to suppress fires with the help of provincial manpower and equipment; and

WHEREAS, the provincial manpower and equipment are paid for by provincial tax dollars whether they are used or not; and

WHEREAS, persons in a municipality where a fire originates are no more responsible for starting a fire than their municipal neighbours;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Sections 8, 11, 11.1, and 12 of The Prairie and Forest Fires Act, 1982, be repealed.

Response from Honourable John T. Nilson, Minister of Environment: 

Responsibility for wildland fire in Saskatchewan is  based on the principle that each member of our society is responsible for their property and the consequences of their actions, followed by local government responsibility for services an lastly provincial assistance when municipal capacity of overwhelmed.  This principle is consistent with other provinces and goals within the Canadian Wildland Fire Strategy signed by Federal, Provincial and Territorial Minister responsible for forests in 2005.   

Municipalities continue to be responsible for providing wildfire suppression services in their jurisdictions.  Where provincial assistance is required municipal costs are capped at the lesser of $300K or 5.67 mills.  

In 2005, government introduced a self-insurance concept for RMs that was rejected and at that time, municipalities chose to accept the financial risk of the cost for wildfires.  This concept can be revisited if there is sufficient interest from municipalities.