Utah Municipal Attorneys Association

Proposed Fire Suppression Changes to Benefit Municipalities

  • 21 Oct 2014 3:16 PM
    Message # 3130740

    Please see the video at


    from the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands.  As a city attorney representing a smaller community in southern Utah--where one brush fire on our perimeter could "wipe us out financially" (due to our small population, and large area of currently-annexed undeveloped land)--I have reviewed the video and met with representatives of the State DFFSL, and recommend the direction that said division is heading. 

    Currently, municipalities are exposed to significant risks for catastrophic costs associated with such fires; yet we cannot participate in the State and County fire suppression fund, and cannot exceed "reserves" that violate the 5-18% rule.  How does one "save" to adequately address such a potential liability?

    The Division is looking at having municipalities continue to be the first attack on the fire, but with the State (at no additional cost to the community) available to assist where needed.  Rather than worry about WHO should pay for the fire, the direction is for cities and towns to budget monies for increased prevention and preparedness capability; and not to worry about being subject to an unintended "bill" from the State for assistance rendered in the fire suppression effort (which is currently what happens). 

    If you agree with the proposed change in direction, let your legislators (and other city attorneys) know.



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