Review of the Proposed Wildfire Act
Res #: 17-12M
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Environment
WHEREAS the Ministry of Environment is drafting the Wildfire Act to replace The Prairie and Forest Fires Act; and
WHEREAS the proposed draft Wildfire Act does not adequately address a municipality’s authority to access First Nations land to fight fires; and
WHEREAS the proposed draft Wildfire Act does not adequately address a municipality’s liability for costs associated with fighting fires on First Nations land;
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the Provincial Government to establish a committee with representation from the Ministry of Environment, Aboriginal and Northern Development Canada, and SARM to develop mechanisms to address the outstanding issues prior to the passing of the Wildfire Act.
Response from Honourable Ken Cheveldayoff, Minister of Environment:
The Ministry of Environment cannot address a rural municipality’s authority to access First Nations land to fight wildfires or the liability and costs for associated firefighting. The mandate and responsibility for assisting rural municipalities for emergency planning and fire prevention and protection lies within the Ministry of Government Relations, the Office of the Fire Commissioner and the Emergency Management and Fire Safety Branch.
The Ministry of Environment has a contractual agreement with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to protect our mandated area by providing forest fire protection services for First Nations reserves within and adjacent to the Provincial Forest, some Provincial Parks in the Provincial Forest and vacant Crown land. This agreement does not have, and would not accept, unilateral responsibility for firefighting on other First Nations and federal lands.
Ministry officials are willing to patiicipate in meetings to explore issues and seek solutions pertaining to wildfires on First Nations lands with SARM, the Ministry of Government Relations and Aboriginal Affairs and Northem Development Canada. Any proposed solutions that are appropriate for the proposed new Wildfire Act will be taken into consideration.