Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Fire Control Authorities

Fire Control Authorities -- Various laws authorize and govern Service firefighting activities.

The Protection of Timber Act of 1922 (42 Stat. 857; 16 U.S.C. 594) provides basic authority for the Secretary of the Interior to protect timber of lands under the Department's jurisdiction from fire, disease and insects.

The Economy Act of 1932 (title VI of the Legislative Branch appropriations for Fiscal Year 1933, 42 Stat. 417; not codified) authorizes contracts for services between Federal agencies.

The Reciprocal Fire Protection Act of 1955 (69 Stat. 66; 42 U.S.C. 1856), as amended by the Wildfire Suppression Assistance Act of 1989 (102 Stat. 1615), provides authority for Federal agencies to enter into mutual assistance agreements with foreign, State and local governments for combatting wildfires, and to provide emergency assistance when no agreement exists. Public Law 101-11 (103 Stat. 15) repealed a time limitation in the 1989 Act on authority to enter into firefighting agreements with foreign governments.

The Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 (88 Stat. 1535; 15 U.S.C. 2201 et seq.), as amended, authorizes reimbursement to State and local fire services for costs incurred in firefighting on Federal property.

The Disaster Relief Act of 1974 (88 Stat. 143; 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.), as amended, provides authority for Federal agencies to assist State and local governments during Presidentially declared emergencies.

Policies for fire control and management are found in the Departmental Manual, Part 910, Chapter 1, Wildland Fire Suppression and Management (March 29, 1990) and Chapter 3, Wildfire Control and Management - Alaska.

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