76.04.740  <<  76.04.750 >>   76.04.760

Uncontrolled fire a public nuisanceSuppressionDutiesSummary actionRecovery of costs.

Any fire on or threatening any forestland burning uncontrolled and without proper action being taken to prevent its spread, notwithstanding the origin of the fire, is a public nuisance by reason of its menace to life and property. Any person engaged in any activity on such lands, having knowledge of the fire, notwithstanding the origin or subsequent spread thereof on his or her own or other forestlands, and the landowner, shall make every reasonable effort to suppress the fire. If the person has not suppressed the fire and the fire is on or threatening forestland within a forest protection zone, the department shall summarily suppress the fire. If the owner, lessee, other possessor of such land, or an agent or contractor of the owner, lessee, or possessor, having knowledge of the fire, has not made a reasonable effort to suppress the fire, the cost thereof may be recovered from the owner, lessee, or other possessor of the land and the cost of the work shall also constitute a lien upon the real property or chattels under the person's ownership. The lien may be filed by the department in the office of the county auditor and foreclosed in the same manner provided by law for the foreclosure of mechanics' liens. The prosecuting attorney shall bring the action to recover the cost or foreclose the lien, upon the request of the department. In the absence of negligence, no costs, other than those provided in RCW 76.04.475, shall be recovered from any landowner for lands subject to the forest protection assessment with respect to the land on which the fire burns.
When a fire occurs in a land clearing, right-of-way clearing, or landowner operation it shall be fought to the full limit of the available employees and equipment, and the firefighting shall be continued with the necessary crews and equipment in such numbers as are, in the opinion of the department, sufficient to suppress the fire. The fire shall not be left without a firefighting crew or fire patrol until authority has been granted in writing by the department.
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