76.04.486  <<  76.04.495 >>   76.04.505

Negligent starting of fires or allowance of extreme fire hazard or debrisLiabilityRecovery of reasonable expensesLien.

(1) Any person, firm, or corporation: (a) Whose negligence is responsible for the starting or existence of a fire which spreads on forestland; or (b) who creates or allows an extreme fire hazard under RCW 76.04.660 to exist and which hazard contributes to the spread of a fire; or (c) who allows forest debris subject to RCW 76.04.650 to exist and which debris contributes to the spread of fire, shall be liable for any reasonable expenses made necessary by (a), (b), or (c) of this subsection. The state, a municipality, a forest protective association, or any fire protection agency of the United States may recover such reasonable expenses in fighting the fire, together with costs of investigation and litigation including reasonable attorneys' fees and taxable court costs, if the expense was authorized or subsequently approved by the department. The authority granted under this subsection allowing the recovery of reasonable expenses incurred by fire protection agencies of the United States shall apply only to such expenses incurred after June 30, 1993.
(2) The department or agency incurring such expense shall have a lien for the same against any property of the person, firm, or corporation liable under subsection (1) of this section by filing a claim of lien naming the person, firm, or corporation, describing the property against which the lien is claimed, specifying the amount expended on the lands on which the firefighting took place and the period during which the expenses were incurred, and signing the claim with post office address. No claim of lien is valid unless filed, with the county auditor of the county in which the property sought to be charged is located, within a period of ninety days after the expenses of the claimant are incurred. The lien may be foreclosed in the same manner as a mechanic's lien is foreclosed under the statutes of the state of Washington.
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