[Rev. 11/21/2013 11:57:46 AM--2013]

CHAPTER 473 - FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICTS RECEIVING FEDERAL AID

NRS 473.010           “Federal aid” defined.

NRS 473.020           Institution of proceedings for formation of fire protection district: Petition by property owners.

NRS 473.030           Resolution of board of county commissioners: Adoption; contents.

NRS 473.031           Notice of proposed formation of district: Contents; publication.

NRS 473.032           Hearing; written objections; exclusion of land not benefited.

NRS 473.033           Inclusion of lands adjacent to proposed district; owner’s application.

NRS 473.034           Determination; order of formation; regulations for organization of area.

NRS 473.035           Alteration of boundaries by inclusion of territory: Procedure; regulations.

NRS 473.0355         Alteration of boundaries by exclusion of territory: Procedure.

NRS 473.036           Effect of change in district’s boundaries.

NRS 473.040           Board of directors: Composition.

NRS 473.050           Preparation of budgets; levy, collection, deposit and use of taxes.

NRS 473.060           Authorization to issue negotiable bonds; purpose; limitation on amount.

NRS 473.065           Activities within district which may be prohibited or restricted by State Forester Firewarden; public announcement and posting of prohibited or restricted activities; applicability; penalty.

NRS 473.070           Liability for damage by fire within district.

NRS 473.080           Collection of expenses for extinguishing fires or meeting other emergencies within district.

NRS 473.090           Unlawful burning, blasting or use of fireworks, welding torch or other devices in district; permits; exceptions; penalty.

NRS 473.100           Elimination of fire hazards.

_________

 

      NRS 473.010  “Federal aid” defined.  As used in this chapter, “federal aid” means aid provided pursuant to title 16 of the United States Code.

      (Supplied in revision; A 1985, 297)

      NRS 473.020  Institution of proceedings for formation of fire protection district: Petition by property owners.

      1.  Property owners of land in watershed areas or lands having an inflammable cover in one or more counties in this State may institute proceedings for the formation of a fire protection district for the purpose of securing federal aid by petition to the State Forester Firewarden.

      2.  The petition must:

      (a) Set forth the territory in the county to be included in the fire protection district; and

      (b) Be signed by at least 25 percent of the property owners within the territory.

      3.  The State Forester Firewarden shall determine the feasibility of the formation of the district and shall notify the board of county commissioners of his or her decision and transmit a copy of the petition to the board.

      [Part 5(a):149:1945; added 1949, 543; 1943 NCL § 3169.04a]—(NRS A 1965, 399; 1985, 297)

      NRS 473.030  Resolution of board of county commissioners: Adoption; contents.  The board of county commissioners in each of such counties, upon receipt of a notice in writing from the State Forester Firewarden of the feasibility of the formation of such fire protection district, shall adopt a resolution:

      1.  Describing the territory or specifying the exterior boundaries of the proposed fire protection district;

      2.  Stating the purpose for which it is to be organized;

      3.  Fixing a time and place for a hearing of the matter not less than 30 days after its adoption; and

      4.  Directing the clerk of the board of county commissioners to publish the notice of intention of the board of county commissioners to form such fire protection district, and of the time and place fixed for the hearing, and shall designate that publication shall be in some newspaper of general circulation published in the county and circulated in the proposed fire protection district, or if there is no newspaper so published and circulated then in some newspaper of general circulation circulated in the proposed district.

      [Part 5(a):149:1945; added 1949, 543; 1943 NCL § 3169.04a]—(NRS A 1965, 399)

      NRS 473.031  Notice of proposed formation of district: Contents; publication.  The notice shall:

      1.  Be headed “Notice of the proposed formation of fire protection district in ........................... (stating the name of the county or city, in the case of Carson City, or, if there be more than one, the name of the counties in which the proposed district is located).”

      2.  State the fact that the board of county commissioners of the county or the Board of Supervisors of Carson City has fixed the time and place (which shall be stated in the notice) for a hearing on the matter of the formation of the fire protection district.

      3.  Describe the territory or shall specify the exterior boundaries of the territory proposed to be organized into a fire protection district.

      4.  Be published once a week for 2 successive weeks prior to the time fixed for the hearing in the newspaper designated by the board of county commissioners of the county or the board of supervisors of Carson City.

      (Added to NRS by 1965, 400; A 1969, 339)

      NRS 473.032  Hearing; written objections; exclusion of land not benefited.

      1.  At the time fixed for the hearing of the matter, or at any time prior thereto, any person interested may file with the clerk of the board written objections to the formation of the district.

      2.  At the time fixed for the hearing, or to which the hearing may be adjourned, the board of county commissioners shall hear the objections filed, if any, and pass upon the same.

      3.  The board may, in its discretion, sustain any or all of the objections filed and may change or alter the boundaries of such proposed district to conform to the needs of the district and to exclude therefrom any land that will not be benefited by the formation of such a district. Except as provided in NRS 473.033, the board shall not include therein any territory not included in the boundaries mentioned in the petition.

      (Added to NRS by 1965, 400)

      NRS 473.033  Inclusion of lands adjacent to proposed district; owner’s application.  Any owner of lands adjacent to the borders of the proposed district may, by written application therefor filed with the board of county commissioners at or before the time of the hearing of the petition, in the discretion of the board, have such lands included within such proposed district.

      (Added to NRS by 1965, 400)

      NRS 473.034  Determination; order of formation; regulations for organization of area.

      1.  Upon the hearing of the matter, the board of county commissioners shall determine whether the petition complies with the requirements and purposes of this chapter, and must hear all competent and relevant testimony offered in support or in objection thereto. Upon completion of the hearing the board shall, by order, determine whether the proposed district will be formed and the order must be entered upon the minutes of the board of county commissioners.

      2.  Upon the entry of the order of formation of the district, the board of county commissioners shall forthwith notify the State Forester Firewarden of the formation of the district. The State Forester Firewarden shall establish regulations for the organization of the area included within the district to meet the terms and requirements for federal aid.

      (Added to NRS by 1965, 400; A 1985, 298)

      NRS 473.035  Alteration of boundaries by inclusion of territory: Procedure; regulations.

      1.  New territory may be included in any fire protection district organized under this chapter in the manner provided in subsections 2 to 7, inclusive. Any new territory which is proposed to be included in a fire protection district must be contiguous to the district.

      2.  The inclusion of new territory in a fire protection district organized under this chapter may be initiated by:

      (a) A petition signed by a majority of the owners of the property located within the territory proposed to be included in the district; or

      (b) A resolution of the board of county commissioners of the county in which the district is located that includes a description of the territory proposed to be included in the district.

      3.  The petition must include:

      (a) A description of the territory proposed to be included in the fire protection district; and

      (b) A statement advising the signers that their property will be subject to the levy of a tax for the support of the fire protection district.

      4.  Upon receipt of the petition or resolution, the State Forester Firewarden shall determine the feasibility of including that territory in the fire protection district and shall notify the board of directors of the district of his or her decision.

      5.  The board of directors, upon receipt of a notice in writing from the State Forester Firewarden of the decision to include territory in the fire protection district, shall prepare a resolution:

      (a) Describing the territory to be included; and

      (b) Stating the purpose for its inclusion.

      6.  Upon the adoption of the resolution, the board of directors shall forthwith notify the State Forester Firewarden of the resolution. The territory is included in the fire protection district from the date of the resolution.

      7.  Upon the inclusion of any contiguous territory in a fire protection district, the State Forester Firewarden shall adopt regulations for the organization of the territory to meet the terms and requirements for federal aid.

      (Added to NRS by 1957, 325; A 1963, 360; 1965, 398; 1967, 877; 1981, 484; 1985, 298; 2007, 2474)

      NRS 473.0355  Alteration of boundaries by exclusion of territory: Procedure.

      1.  Territory may be excluded from any fire protection district organized under this chapter in the manner provided in subsections 2, 3 and 4.

      2.  Should any portion of the territory included in a fire protection district be:

      (a) Annexed to an incorporated city or lands adjacent to an incorporated city be zoned for residential, small estates or commercial use pursuant to law, the State Forester Firewarden may declare the portion so annexed or zoned to be excluded from the district, and shall change the district boundary to conform to the annexation or zoning.

      (b) Used or zoned as industrial, commercial, residential or agricultural land, the State Forester Firewarden shall, immediately upon receiving a written petition:

             (1) Requesting exclusion from the district;

             (2) Containing the description of 10 or more contiguous parcels of land within the territory so used or zoned as industrial, commercial, residential or agricultural land which parcels are each owned separately by different persons; and

             (3) Signed by the owners of a majority of the parcels of the described territory sought to be excluded,

Ę determine the feasibility of excluding that territory and shall notify the board of directors of the district of his or her decision.

      3.  Should any portion of the territory included in a fire protection district be:

      (a) Fifteen acres or less of irrigated land;

      (b) Owned by less than 10 owners; and

      (c) Abutting on a portion of the district’s boundary,

Ę the State Forester Firewarden shall, immediately upon receiving a written petition requesting exclusion from the district, containing a description of the land, and signed by the owners of a majority of the parcels in the described territory sought to be excluded, determine the feasibility of excluding that territory and shall notify the board of directors of the district of his or her decision.

      4.  The board of directors, upon receipt of a notice in writing from the State Forester Firewarden of a decision to exclude territory from the fire protection district, shall prepare a resolution:

      (a) Describing the territory to be excluded; and

      (b) Stating the purpose of its exclusion.

Ę Upon the adoption of the resolution the board of directors shall forthwith notify the State Forester Firewarden of the resolution. The territory is excluded from the fire protection district from the date of the resolution.

      (Added to NRS by 1981, 483)

      NRS 473.036  Effect of change in district’s boundaries.

      1.  A change of boundaries of a fire protection district shall not impair or affect its organization, nor shall it affect, impair or discharge any contract, obligation, lien or charge on which it might be liable or chargeable had such change of boundaries not been made.

      2.  Property included within or annexed to a district shall be subject to all of the taxes imposed by the district, and shall be liable for its proportionate share of existing bonded indebtedness of the district; but it shall not be liable for any taxes levied or assessed prior to its inclusion in the district, nor shall its entry into the district be made subject to or contingent upon the payment or assumption of any penalty.

      3.  Property excluded from a district shall thereafter be subject to the levy of taxes for the payment of its proportionate share of any indebtedness of the district outstanding at the time of such exclusion, but the board of county commissioners may levy taxes upon only the taxable property remaining in the district after the exclusion of property if the board finds and determines that it has considered the results of Sections 1 and 2 of Article 10 of the Constitution of the State of Nevada and that the failure to levy a tax upon the property excluded from the district will not prejudice any creditor existing at the time of such exclusion.

      (Added to NRS by 1965, 401)

      NRS 473.040  Board of directors: Composition.  The county commissioners in the county or counties wherein such a fire protection district or portion thereof is located shall constitute the board of directors of the district.

      [Part 5(c):149:1945; added 1949, 543; 1943 NCL § 3169.04c]

      NRS 473.050  Preparation of budgets; levy, collection, deposit and use of taxes.

      1.  For the consideration and approval of the district board of directors, the State Forester Firewarden shall annually:

      (a) Prepare a budget estimating the amount of money which will be needed to defray the expenses of the district organized under the provisions of NRS 473.020 and 473.030.

      (b) Determine the amount of a special tax sufficient to raise the sum estimated to be necessary. The amount of the tax to be collected for the purposes of this section must not exceed, in any 1 year, 1 percent of the assessed value of the property described in subsection 2.

      2.  When so determined, the State Forester Firewarden shall certify the amount of the estimated sum and the estimated tax to the board of county commissioners in the county or counties wherein the district or portion thereof is located. At the time of making the levy of county taxes for that year, the board of county commissioners may levy the tax certified, or a tax determined by the board of county commissioners to be sufficient for the purpose, upon all the real property, together with improvements thereon, and all property valued by the Nevada Tax Commission pursuant to NRS 361.320, 361.323 or 361.325 and similar intracounty properties in the district within its county.

      3.  If levied the tax must be assessed and collected in the same manner, at the same time and by the same officers as are state and county property taxes, and must be paid to the county treasurer. The county treasurer shall keep the money in a separate fund designated by district name and it must be used only for fire protection purposes.

      4.  Any tax money or county general fund money provided for support of the district may be used to provide structural as well as forest or watershed fire protection if deemed necessary. All funds must be expended in accordance with an annual budget prepared by the State Forester Firewarden and approved by the board of directors. The money so provided must be disbursed by the county treasurer to the responsible protecting agencies in accordance with the budget. All claims must be:

      (a) Certified by a responsible officer of the protecting agency.

      (b) Subject to approval and audit as are other claims against the agency.

      (c) Subject to inspection and audit by the State Forester Firewarden and the board of county commissioners.

      5.  Any money budgeted for forest and watershed protection must be deposited in the State Treasury to the credit of the Division of Forestry Account within the State General Fund and may be disbursed by the State Forester Firewarden in accordance with the district budget, and shall be used for the sole purpose of the prevention and suppression of fires in such organized fire protection districts in accordance with state law and regulations.

      [5(b):149:1945; added 1949, 543; 1943 NCL § 3169.04b]—(NRS A 1957, 323; 1963, 360; 1973, 270; 1977, 1053; 1983, 560)

      NRS 473.060  Authorization to issue negotiable bonds; purpose; limitation on amount.  The board of directors may prepare, issue and sell negotiable coupon bonds not exceeding $50,000 in amount, exclusive of interest, for the purpose of providing money for the purchase of fire-fighting equipment and other necessary facilities for use in the respective fire protection districts eligible for federal aid.

      [Part 5(c):149:1945; added 1949, 543; 1943 NCL § 3169.04c] + [5(d):149:1945; added 1949, 543; 1943 NCL § 3169.04d]—(NRS A 1963, 362; 1969, 1633; 1981, 964; 1985, 299)

      NRS 473.065  Activities within district which may be prohibited or restricted by State Forester Firewarden; public announcement and posting of prohibited or restricted activities; applicability; penalty.

      1.  The State Forester Firewarden may prohibit or restrict the following activities within the boundaries of any fire protection district governed by this chapter when a danger to public safety or natural resources exists because of conditions which create a high risk of fire:

      (a) The operation in an area of timber, brush or grass of a motor vehicle or other item of equipment powered by a motor:

             (1) If the motor does not have a spark arrestor as required by law; or

             (2) If the operator does not have in his or her possession an ax, shovel and at least 1 gallon of water;

      (b) The operation in an area of timber, brush or grass of a motor vehicle off an existing paved, gravel or dirt road;

      (c) The smoking of tobacco or other substances in any place other than a motor vehicle or an area cleared of flammable vegetation;

      (d) Setting an open fire any place other than in a fireplace located in an established picnic area or campground; or

      (e) Other activities, if specified in regulations adopted by the Firewarden and the prohibition or restriction is related to reducing a high risk of fire,

Ę but these prohibitions and restrictions do not apply in established campgrounds or picnic areas, beaches or places of habitation or to travel on state or federal highways.

      2.  The State Forester Firewarden shall make a public announcement and post signs in any district where the State Forester Firewarden has prohibited or restricted any activities.

      3.  The State Forester Firewarden shall, upon finding that a danger to public safety or to natural resources no longer exists, make known to the public the end of any prohibition or restriction in that district.

      4.  The provisions of this section apply only to specified prohibitions or restrictions and do not confer upon the State Forester Firewarden the power to prohibit access to land.

      5.  Any person violating any of the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

      (Added to NRS by 1981, 483)

      NRS 473.070  Liability for damage by fire within district.  Except as otherwise provided in NRS 527.126, within the boundaries of any fire protection district organized under this chapter, any person, firm, association or agency which, personally or through another, willfully, negligently or in violation of the law:

      1.  Sets fire to the property, whether privately or publicly owned, of another;

      2.  Allows fire to be set to the property, whether privately or publicly owned, of another; or

      3.  Allows a fire kindled or attended by the person, firm, association or agency to escape to the property, whether privately or publicly owned, of another,

Ę is liable to the owner of such property for the damages thereto caused by such fire.

      [9.1:149:1945; added 1953, 119]—(NRS A 1993, 1203)

      NRS 473.080  Collection of expenses for extinguishing fires or meeting other emergencies within district.  Within the boundaries of any fire protection district organized under this chapter, any person, firm, association or agency responsible for causing any fire or other emergency which threatens human life may be charged with the expenses incurred in extinguishing the fire or meeting the emergency, together with the cost of necessary patrol. This charge constitutes a debt of the person, firm, association or agency charged and is collectible by the federal, state or county agency incurring such expenses in the same manner as in the case of an obligation under a contract, express or implied.

      [9.2:149:1945; added 1953, 119]—(NRS A 1981, 485)

      NRS 473.090  Unlawful burning, blasting or use of fireworks, welding torch or other devices in district; permits; exceptions; penalty.

      1.  Except as otherwise provided in this section and NRS 527.126, it is unlawful within the boundaries of any fire protection district organized under this chapter for any person, firm, association, corporation or agency to burn, or cause to be burned, any brush, grass, logs or any other inflammable material, or blast with dynamite, powder or other explosive, or set off fireworks, or operate a welding torch, tarpot or any other device that may cause a fire in forest, grass or brush, either on the land of the person, firm, association, corporation or agency or on the land of another, or on public land, unless such burning or act is done under a written permit from the State Forester Firewarden or the State Forester Firewarden’s duly authorized agent and in strict accordance with the terms of the permit.

      2.  Written permission is not necessary:

      (a) At any time during the year when the State Forester Firewarden determines that no fire hazard exists.

      (b) To burn materials in screened, safe incinerators, or in incinerators approved by the State Forester Firewarden or the State Forester Firewarden’s duly authorized agent, or in small heaps or piles, where the fire is set on a public road, corrals, gardens or ploughed fields, and at a distance not less than 100 feet from any woodland, timber or brush-covered land or field containing dry grass or other inflammable material with at least one adult person in actual attendance at such fire at all times during its burning.

      3.  This section does not prevent the issuance of an annual permit to any public utility covering its usual and emergency operation and maintenance work within the district.

      4.  This section does not prevent the building of necessary controlled small camp and branding fires, but caution must be taken to make certain that the fire is extinguished before leaving, and, in any case where the fire escapes and does injury to the property of another, such escape and injury are prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.

      5.  The provisions of this section apply only to such portions of the fire protection district as are outside incorporated cities and towns.

      6.  Any person, firm, association, corporation or agency violating any of the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

      [9.3:149:1945; added 1953, 119]—(NRS A 1957, 324; 1971, 1457; 1979, 1479; 1993, 1203)

      NRS 473.100  Elimination of fire hazards.

      1.  Any owner of lands within a fire protection district created pursuant to this chapter shall eliminate and remove a fire hazard on the landowner’s property when directed to do so by the board.

      2.  If the owner does not comply within the time specified by the board, the board may eliminate and remove the fire hazard and may for this purpose contract with any person for the performance of the work.

      3.  The cost incurred by the district in eliminating and removing the fire hazard may be recovered directly from the owner of the property or the district may make the cost a special assessment against the real property. The special assessment may be collected at the same time and in the same manner as ordinary county taxes are collected, and is subject to the same penalties and the same procedure and sale in case of delinquency as provided for ordinary county taxes. All laws applicable to the collection and enforcement of county taxes are applicable to the special assessment.

      4.  As used in this section, “board” means the board of directors of the district.

      (Added to NRS by 1991, 380)