HB 355: "An Act relating to the crime of criminally negligent burning; relating to protection of and fire management on forested land; relating to prohibited acts and penalties for prohibited acts on forested land; and providing for an effective date."
00 HOUSE BILL NO. 355 01 "An Act relating to the crime of criminally negligent burning; relating to protection of 02 and fire management on forested land; relating to prohibited acts and penalties for 03 prohibited acts on forested land; and providing for an effective date." 04 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 05 * Section 1. AS 11.46.427(a) is amended to read: 06 (a) A person commits the crime of criminally negligent burning in the first 07 degree if the person 08 (1) violates AS 11.46.430; and 09 (2) within the preceding 10 years, has been convicted on two separate 10 occasions of violating 11 (A) AS 11.46.400 - 11.46.430; 12 (B) misdemeanor crimes under AS 41.15.060 - 41.15.120; or 13 (C) [AS 41.15.150 OR] a law or ordinance of this or another 14 jurisdiction with elements similar to the [THOSE] offenses in (A) or (B) of
01 this paragraph. 02 * Sec. 2. AS 41.15.010 is amended to read: 03 Sec. 41.15.010. Intent. It is the intent of AS 41.15.010 - 41.15.170 to provide 04 protection from wildland fire and other destructive agents, commensurate with the 05 values at risk, on forested land that is owned privately, by the state, or by a 06 municipality. 07 * Sec. 3. AS 41.15.040 is amended to read: 08 Sec. 41.15.040. Right of entry to control and suppress fires. Upon approval 09 by the commissioner or an authorized agent, an employee of the division of forestry 10 [LANDS], or of any organization authorized to prevent, control, or suppress a fire or a 11 destructive agent, and others assisting in the control or suppression of a fire upon 12 request of an officer or employee of the United States or the state may at any time 13 enter upon any land, whether publicly or privately owned, for the purpose of 14 preventing, investigating, suppressing, or controlling a wildland fire or a destructive 15 agent. 16 * Sec. 4. AS 41.15.040 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 17 (b) A person may not interfere with or prohibit the access authorized under (a) 18 of this section. 19 * Sec. 5. AS 41.15.050 is amended to read: 20 Sec. 41.15.050. Fire season. The period from April 1 to August 31, inclusive, 21 of each year is designated the fire season. [THE COMMISSIONER MAY 22 DESIGNATE OTHER PERIODS AS FIRE SEASON.] The commissioner may, at 23 any time, proclaim an additional period for all or any portion of the state when 24 weather or other conditions require action for the protection of forested land. The 25 commissioner may also, at any time [DURING THE FIRE SEASON], prohibit, or 26 allow only by permit, the setting of fires, smoking, entry, or other use on the land, 27 when, in the judgment of the commissioner, the activities would unduly increase the 28 fire danger. 29 * Sec. 6. AS 41.15.060 is amended to read: 30 Sec. 41.15.060. Permits. The commissioner shall, by regulation, prescribe the 31 conditions of and the manner for obtaining a permit for the setting of fires, use of
01 burning devices, and other activities and uses of land that increase fire danger [. 02 FAILURE TO OBTAIN THE REQUIRED PERMIT, OR VIOLATION OF A 03 CONDITION OF THE PERMIT IS A MISDEMEANOR]. 04 * Sec. 7. AS 41.15.060 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 05 (b) A person may not set fires, use burning devices, or conduct other activities 06 or use land that increases fire danger without a permit as prescribed by the 07 commissioner in regulation. 08 * Sec. 8. AS 41.15.070 is amended to read: 09 Sec. 41.15.070. Disposal of burning materials. A person may not discard 10 any [WHO, DURING THE FIRE SEASON, THROWS AWAY] lighted tobacco, 11 cigar, cigarette, match, firecracker, or other burning material on forested land [, 12 WHETHER PUBLIC OR PRIVATE, IS GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR]. 13 * Sec. 9. AS 41.15.090 is amended to read: 14 Sec. 41.15.090. Building or leaving fires. A person may not start [WHO 15 BUILDS] a fire in or near forested land [TIMBER, BRUSH, GRASS, OR OTHER 16 INFLAMMABLE MATERIAL] without first clearing the ground immediately around 17 it free from materials that will carry fire [OR WHO LEAVES THE FIRE BEFORE 18 TOTALLY EXTINGUISHING IT, IS GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR]. 19 * Sec. 10. AS 41.15.090 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 20 (b) A person who starts a fire in or near forested land may not leave the fire 21 before totally extinguishing the fire. 22 * Sec. 11. AS 41.15.100 is amended to read: 23 Sec. 41.15.100. Setting fires without consent. A person may not set [WHO 24 SETS] on fire forested land [TIMBER, BRUSH, GRASS,] or other inflammable 25 material located or growing on land that is not owned, possessed, or controlled by the 26 person, without the consent of the owner or lawful occupant of the land [, IS GUILTY 27 OF A MISDEMEANOR]. 28 * Sec. 12. AS 41.15.110 is amended to read: 29 Sec. 41.15.110. Uncontrolled spread of fire; leaving fire unattended. (a) A 30 person who knows of a fire or sets a fire on forested land owned, possessed, or 31 controlled by the person, shall exercise due care to prevent the uncontrolled spread of
01 the fire. [A PERSON FAILING TO EXERCISE DUE CARE WHICH RESULTS IN 02 SPREAD OF THE FIRE AND DAMAGE TO PROPERTY OF ANOTHER IS 03 GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR.] 04 (b) A person shall [WHO NEGLECTS TO] make every effort possible to 05 extinguish a fire the person knowingly sets on forested land and may not leave a fire 06 unattended [OR WHO LEAVES SUCH A FIRE UNATTENDED IS GUILTY OF A 07 MISDEMEANOR]. 08 (c) In a criminal action brought under this section, the escape of the fire may 09 be considered by a court as [IS PRESUMPTIVE] evidence that [OF NEGLIGENCE 10 BY] the person responsible for starting the fire acted knowingly [AND UNLESS 11 REBUTTED IS SUFFICIENT TO SUSTAIN A CONVICTION]. 12 * Sec. 13. AS 41.15.120 is amended to read: 13 Sec. 41.15.120. Failure to assist in preventing or suppressing fires. If an 14 officer or employee of the United States or the state who is authorized to prevent, 15 investigate, or suppress fires requests a person to assist in the prevention or 16 suppression of a fire and informs the person of the officer or employee's official status, 17 [AND] the person shall [FAILS TO] assist the officer or employee [IN THE 18 PERFORMANCE OF DUTIES, THE PERSON IS GUILTY OF A 19 MISDEMEANOR]. 20 * Sec. 14. AS 41.15.130 is amended to read: 21 Sec. 41.15.130. Backfires and burnouts excluded. AS 41.15.010 - 41.15.040 22 and 41.15.050 - 41.15.170 [AS 41.15.010 - 41.15.170] do not apply to the setting of 23 backfires, burnouts, and other burning or clearing of land [A BACKFIRE] under 24 the direction of an officer or employee of the United States or the state who is 25 authorized to prevent or suppress fires. 26 * Sec. 15. AS 41.15.140 is repealed and reenacted to read: 27 Sec. 41.15.140. Penalty. Except as provided in AS 41.15.150, a person who 28 (1) knowingly violates a provision of AS 41.15.040 - 41.15.130 is 29 guilty of a class A misdemeanor punishable as provided in AS 12.55; 30 (2) without any culpable mental state, violates a provision of 31 AS 41.15.040 - 41.15.130 or a regulation adopted under AS 41.15.040 - 41.15.130 is
01 guilty of a violation and upon conviction is punishable by a fine of not more than 02 $5,000. 03 * Sec. 16. AS 41.15.150 is repealed and reenacted to read: 04 Sec. 41.15.150. Criminal burning of forested land in the first degree. (a) A 05 person commits the crime of criminal burning of forested land in the first degree if 06 (1) the person violates AS 41.15.155; and 07 (2) the person's actions or conduct violate a provision of AS 41.15.010 08 - 41.15.130 or a regulation adopted under AS 41.15.010 - 41.15.130. 09 (b) Criminal burning of forested land in the first degree is a class B felony 10 punishable as provided in AS 12.55. 11 * Sec. 17. AS 41.15 is amended by adding a new section to read: 12 Sec. 41.15.155. Criminal burning of forested land in the second degree. (a) 13 A person commits the crime of criminal burning of forested land in the second degree 14 if 15 (1) the person knowingly sets a fire; 16 (2) with criminal negligence, the person 17 (A) permits the fire to spread beyond the person's control; or 18 (B) fails to prevent the fire from spreading to forested land or 19 other flammable material; and 20 (3) as a result, the fire burns forested land or other flammable material 21 located or growing on land that is not owned, possessed, or controlled by the person. 22 (b) The crime of criminal burning of forested land in the second degree is a 23 class C felony punishable as provided in AS 12.55. 24 * Sec. 18. AS 41.15.160 is amended to read: 25 Sec. 41.15.160. Double damages in civil actions. In addition to the criminal 26 punishment provided for by AS 11.46.400 - 11.46.450, AS 41.15.140, and 41.15.150 27 [AS 41.15.010 - 41.15.170], the United States, the state, a municipality, or any person 28 may recover in a civil action double the amount of damages sustained as a 29 consequence of a violation of AS 11.46.400 - 11.46.450, AS 41.15.010 - 41.15.150 30 [AS 41.15.010 - 41.15.170]. In a civil action brought under AS 41.15.010 - 41.15.170 31 or any other law relating to the subject matter of AS 41.15.010 - 41.15.170, the escape
01 of a fire is presumptive evidence of negligence by the person responsible for starting 02 the fire and unless rebutted is sufficient to sustain the recovery. 03 * Sec. 19. AS 41.15.170 is amended by adding new paragraphs to read: 04 (5) "criminal negligence" has the meaning given in AS 11.81.900; 05 (6) "knowingly" has the meaning given in AS 11.81.900. 06 * Sec. 20. AS 41.15.950(b) is amended to read: 07 (b) A person designated in (a) of this section may, when enforcing the 08 provisions of this chapter or a regulation adopted under this chapter, 09 (1) execute a warrant or other process issued by an officer or court of 10 competent jurisdiction; 11 (2) administer or take an oath, affirmation, or affidavit; [AND] 12 (3) arrest a person who violates a provision of this chapter or a 13 regulation adopted under this chapter; and 14 (4) issue a citation to a person who violates a provision of 15 AS 41.15.010 - 41.15.170 or a regulation adopted under this chapter. 16 * Sec. 21. AS 41.15 is amended by adding a new section to read: 17 Sec. 41.15.960. Form and issuance of citation; bail schedules. (a) When a 18 peace officer stops or contacts a person concerning a violation of this chapter or of a 19 regulation adopted under this chapter that is a misdemeanor or a violation, the peace 20 officer may issue a citation to the person as provided in AS 12.25.175 - 12.25.230. 21 (b) The supreme court shall specify by rule or order those misdemeanors and 22 violations that are appropriate for disposition without court appearance and shall 23 establish a schedule of bail amounts. The maximum bail amount for an offense may 24 not exceed the maximum fine specified by law for that offense. If the misdemeanor or 25 violation for which the citation is issued may be disposed of without court appearance, 26 the issuing peace officer shall write on the citation the amount of bail applicable to the 27 violation. 28 (c) If a person cited for an offense for which a bail amount has been 29 established under (b) of this section does not contest the citation, the person may, on 30 or before the 30th day after the date of the citation, mail or personally deliver to the 31 clerk of the court in which the citation is filed by the peace officer
01 (1) the amount of bail indicated on the citation for that offense; and 02 (2) a copy of the citation indicating that the right to an appearance is 03 waived, a plea of no contest is entered, and the bail is forfeited. 04 (d) When bail has been forfeited under (c) of this section, a judgment of 05 conviction shall be entered. Forfeiture under this section of bail and all items seized is 06 complete satisfaction for the misdemeanor or violation. The clerk of the court shall 07 provide the offender with a receipt stating that fact if requested. 08 (e) A person cited who fails to pay the bail amount established under (b) of 09 this section or fails to appear in court as required is guilty of failure to obey a citation 10 under AS 12.25.230. 11 (f) Notwithstanding other provisions of law, if a person cited for a 12 misdemeanor for which a bail amount has been established in (b) of this section 13 appears in court and is found guilty, the penalty that is imposed for the offense may 14 not exceed the bail amount for that offense established in (b) of this section. 15 * Sec. 22. AS 41.15.080 is repealed. 16 * Sec. 23. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to 17 read: 18 TRANSITION: REGULATIONS. The Department of Natural Resources may adopt 19 regulations necessary to implement the changes made by this Act. The regulations take effect 20 under AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act), but not before the effective date of the law 21 implemented by the regulation. 22 * Sec. 24. Section 23 of this Act takes effect immediately under AS 01.10.070(c). 23 * Sec. 25. Except as provided in sec. 24 of this Act, this Act takes effect July 1, 2018.