OREGON FOREST LAND PROTECTION FUND
The definitions set forth in ORS 477.001 are made a part of this division by this reference; and further the following special definitions are also applicable:
(1) "Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund" means that account established in the State Treasury as a trust fund for the purpose of equalizing emergency fire suppression costs pursuant to Chapter 524, Oregon Law, 1969.
(2) "Regular Fire Suppression Costs" means those fire suppression costs which are regularly budgeted for and incurred by a forest protection district pursuant to ORS 477.205 to 477.291.
(3) "Emergency Fire Suppression Costs" means those fire suppression costs in excess of $25,000 in any single day which are incurred in an forest protection district in excess of the regular fire suppression costs, which costs shall include, but not limited to labor, services, transportation, supplies, reconditioning and rental equipment, contingency forces costs and expenses incurred for the recovery of emergency fire suppression costs; such emergency fire suppression costs, where applicable, to be based upon the wage rates and equipment rental rates approved by the State Forester.
(4) "District" means a forest protection district organized under ORS 477.255.
(5) "Fiscal Year" means the period beginning July 01 of any year and ending on June 30 of the next year.
(6) "Association" means any forest protective association under contract or agreement with the Forester or Board pursuant to ORS 477.406.
(7) "Administrator" means the administrator appointed pursuant to ORS 477.455(2).
(8) "Contingency Forces" means fire suppression resources added to a district regular forces during time of high fire hazard and/or risk. Such forces may be resources moved from other protection districts, or local forces placed on standby for initial fire attack.
(9) An "Emergency Fire" is a fire that requires greater fire suppression action than a district can reasonably provide at a given time and place under closed fire season suppression resource levels. The following are examples of "emergency fire":
(a) A fire occurs in a unit of a district during August, when the district is at full strength. The dispatch plan on the fire at this time and place specifies a dispatch of two engines, six persons and a district cat. If these forces are inadequate to suppress the fire and additional forces must be hired, it becomes an emergency fire;
(b) If the same fire occurs in February, when the readiness resources are substantially less, the district must still suppress the fire. Hired resources from cooperators will normally be used to supplement limited district resources. The fire becomes an emergency fire when hired and regular district resources exceed the resources equivalent to the closed fire season dispatch of two engines, six person and a cat;
(c) An emergency fire situation may occur when there are multiple fires in a district, although none of the fires may escape initial attack stage. This situation generally occurs during and after severe lightning storms. Extra resources hired to supplement regular forces in the multiple fire situation are emergency fire resources eligible for payment from emergency fire funds.
Stat. Auth.: ORS 477
Stats. Implemented: ORS 477.750
Hist.: FB 21, f. 9-25-69; FB 1-1981, f. 6-10-81, ef. 7-1-81, Renumbered from 629-044-0100; FB 1-1995, f. & cert. ef. 1-12-95; FB 3-1996, f. & cert. ef. 3-13-96
Deductible Amount Per Acre
Emergency fire suppression costs are subject to a deductible amount. The Emergency Fire Cost Committee shall establish the deductible amount for each district on or before January 15 of each year. The deductible amount shall be an amount for each acre covered by the timber budget and an amount for each acre covered by the grazing budget established under ORS 477.230, but may not exceed the limit established under ORS 477. 770.
(1) Payment for activities that may be included in meeting the deductible amount shall include, but are not limited to labor, services, transportation, supplies and rental of equipment other than those of the claiming district when incurred in:
(a) Emergency fire suppression, or
(b) Contingency forces costs not to exceed an amount equal to the deductible specified in this rule; provided that the costs were approved by the State Forester before they were incurred and that they were expended on emergency fires.
(2) The requirement in OAR 629-061-0000 that $25,000/ fire/day be expended before emergency fire suppression costs may be paid may be waived by the Committee if conditions so warrant. Conditions that may warrant waiver of the requirement include, but are not limited to one or more of the following:
(a) The unencumbered balance of the fund is determined to be in excess of the reserve base established in ORS 477.760.
(b) The district requesting waiver has over-expended the regular protection budget for the year in which the waiver request is made.
(3) If the requirement in OAR 629-061-0000, defining Emergency Fire Suppression Costs, directly results in an increase in any District Annual Protection Budget in excess of 15 cents per acre on Timber Land or six cents on Grazing Land, the Committee will waive that part of the requirement in excess of this level. It is the intent of the Emergency Fire Cost Committee that the maxi-mum impact of OAR 629-061-0005(2) be limited to an additional 15 cents per acre on Timber Land and six cents per acre on Grazing Land in any District Annual Protection Budget.
Stat. Auth.: ORS 477.770
Stats. Implemented: ORS 477.445 & ORS 477.755
Hist.: FB 21, f. 9-25-69; FB 2-1978, f. 1-6-78, ef. 7-1-78; FB 1-1981, f. 6-10-81, ef. 7-1-81; FB 6-1982, f. 6-16-82, ef. 7-1-82, Renumbered from 629-044-0105; FB 1-1995, f. & cert. ef. 1-12-95; FB 3-1996, f. & cert. ef. 3-13-96; FB 5-1996, f. & cert. ef. 6-13-96
Evidence of Necessity
Each district shall, where payment is claimed from the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund, provide Administrator with evidence acceptable to Administrator of the necessity for district to incur emergency fire suppression costs in
which an owner or operator has obligations to pay for controlling and extinguishing fire pursuant to provisions of ORS 477.062, 477.068, 477.085 and 477.120. Evidence which may be acceptable to Administrator shall include, but is not limited to:
(1) A statement signed by the district forester or district manager stating the entity responsible for fire suppression costs has refused to accept responsibility or is unable to pay fire costs.
(2) A notification to Administrator that fire cost recovery proceedings have been initiated against an owner or operator that has obligations to pay fire suppression costs.
(3) A statement from an authorized State Forester's staff member or by an assistant attorney general that fire suppression costs are deemed uncollectible. This statement shall include the reason for the decision.
(4) A statement by a district forester that recovery of fire costs appears assured but delays in the recovery process will make it necessary to support the district financial resources until costs can be processed and the responsible party is billed and payment is received.
Qualifications For Payment
Administrator shall pay only those emergency fire suppression costs as defined in section 629-061-0000(3) incurred by any district during the fiscal year if district has first expended for similar or other fire emergency costs the deductible amount described in OAR 629-061-0005, provided, however, when a fire originates in one fiscal year and continues burning in fiscal year next following, all emergency fire suppression costs for said fire shall be included in the expenditures for the fiscal year in which the fire started.
Any claim for emergency fire suppression costs shall be submitted on forms supplied or approved by Administrator. "Current claims" shall be those claims covering such costs for the current fiscal year.
Administrator shall pay to any district an amount from the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund equal to the emergency fire suppression costs such district has qualified for under OAR 629-061-0020, hereof; the payment shall be 100 percent of the itemized certified costs unless otherwise determined by the Emergency Fire Cost Committee.
In the event Administrator makes a payment under rule 629-061-0035, hereof, less than 100 percent of the itemized and certified emergency fire suppression costs, no final payment of said costs shall be made until all emergency fire suppression cost claims against the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund have been submitted for the current fiscal year.
Payments Conditional -- Audits
Any payment made under OAR 629-061-0035 shall be a conditional payment until:
(1) All emergency fire suppression cost claims against the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund have been submitted for the current fiscal year; and
(2) The Administrator has audited each claim; and
(3) The Emergency Fire Cost Committee has approved each audit.
(4) The district shall reimburse the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund for any conditional payments that are not approved by the Emergency Fire Cost Committee.
Proceedings -- Recovery of Costs
In addition to OAR 629-061-0045, any payment made by Administrator to a claimant, shall be conditioned upon proceedings being brought to recover fire suppression costs from any party or parties liable therefor under ORS Chapter 477, or other law.
Collection -- Approval
If an Association or the State Forester institutes collection under OAR 629-061-0050, prior to acceptance of any payment there-under, Association or the State Forester whichever the case may be shall first secure the approval of the Administrator, if:
(1) Such fire suppression costs include moneys which have been advanced by Administrator to a district from the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund; or
(2) Such settlement will affect the amount otherwise payable from the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund to a district; or
(3) Such settlement will affect the amount otherwise reimbursable by a district to the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund.
Reimbursement to Account
Whenever an Association or the State Forester receives payment pursuant to OAR 629-061-0060, hereof, they shall retain an amount equal to the emergency fire suppression costs not paid by Administrator from the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund but eligible for payment, and reimburse the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund with the remainder, if any; however, any such reimbursement shall in no event exceed the amount
paid from said Account.
Transfer of Funds From State Treasurer
(1) The Emergency Fire Cost Committee is authorized by ORS 477.760(2) to request a transfer of funds from the State Trea-surer to the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund at any time and in any amount that will not cause the fund to exceed the reserve base specified in ORS 477.760(1). In the event a transfer of funds is made from the State Treasurer, the Emergency Fire Cost Committee shall notify the State Forester of the amount of the transfer.
(2) The State Forester shall increase taxes and assessments as specified in ORS 477.760(4) in an amount adequate to assure repayment of the transfer and the interest charged thereon. The increase in taxes and assessments specified in ORS 477.760(4)(a) shall be added to the taxes and assessments made under 321.015(2), 477.277(1), 477.295(1), 477.750(1), (2), 477.760(4) and 477.880(2) for the following fiscal year. The amount of transfer will be limited to the amount of money by which known and anticipated claims will exceed the cash balance in the fund, plus anticipated revenues for the remainder of the fiscal year. Negotiations for and approval of the transfer shall be completed before March 1 of each year to allow the State Forester to meet the requirements of 477.760, which requires setting of tax and assessment rates by March 1 of the ensuing year.