(a)  The department has statutory authority to direct fire control tactics employed by all personnel engaged in fire suppression, and to prevent others from exercising independent action that could cause conflicts.  Therefore, forest rangers shall as fire boss, assume tactical direction of all forest fire suppression activities.

(1)           The state normally does not assume responsibility for individuals employed by or committed to the fire suppression effort by a cooperating agency, corporation, or person having a mutual interest in the fire suppression effort:

(A)          Several of the large corporate landowners in the state have voluntarily developed forest fire control organizations that supplement state forces in protecting their economic interest in forest resources.  When corporate landowners voluntarily commit their employees and resources to a specific forest fire suppression effort, placing them under the tactical control of a fire boss, these employees and resources remain the responsibility of the employing corporate landowner.

(B)          Forest landowners should assist in the protection of their own property, and persons responsible for the escape of fires that damage or threaten the property of others should assist with suppression efforts.  The department does not assume responsibility for these individuals; however, the department may assume responsibility when these individuals work under the sole direction of a forest ranger.

(2)           The department assumes responsibility for individuals committed to forest fire suppression by summons, as regular state employees, or as individuals state volunteers.  However, the department does not assume responsibility for individual volunteers who begin suppression efforts on their own, without the knowledge or tactical direction of a forest ranger, until after the fire boss has accepted them as part of the fire suppression organization and has committed them to work on the fire under his tactical direction.

(3)           When special cooperative fire suppression agreements between the division and individual forest landowners exist, that agreement shall define the assumption of liabilities.

(b)  Final determination of responsibility in disputed compensation and liability claims is made by the Industrial Commission or the courts. It is the purpose of this policy to set forth the intent of the division with regard to voluntary assumption of responsibility.  Nothing in this policy is construed to be in conflict with governing statutes of the state.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 106-22; 106-899; 143B‑10(j);

Eff. February 1, 1976;

Amended Eff. October 2, 1978;

Readopted Eff. November 6, 1980;

Amended Eff. October 1, 1984; August 1, 1982;

Transferred from 15A NCAC 09C .0207 Eff. May 1, 2012.