MIDDLE ATLANTIC INTERSTATE FOREST FIRE PROTECTION COMPACT ACT Act of Jul. 29, 1953, P.L. 970, No. 235 Cl. 32 AN ACT Authorizing the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to execute on behalf of the Commonwealth a compact with certain other States for the effective prevention and control of forest fires and for mutual aid in fighting forest fires. Compiler's Note: Section 302(h) of Act 18 of 1995, which created the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and renamed the Department of Environmental Resources as the Department of Environmetnal Protection, provided that the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources shall exercise the powers and duties conferred upon the Secretary of Forests and Waters by Act 235 of 1953. The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hereby enacts as follows: Section 1. The Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is hereby authorized and directed to execute a compact on behalf of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with any one or more of the States of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and West Virginia, and with such other states as may enter into the compact legally joining therein, who may, by their legislative bodies, so authorize a compact, in form substantially as follows: (Intro. par. amended June 28, 1996, P.L.419, No.59) Middle Atlantic Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact Article I The purpose of this compact is to promote effective prevention and control of forest fires in the Middle Atlantic region of the United States by the development of integrated forest fire plans, by the maintenance of adequate forest fire fighting services by the member States, and by providing for mutual aid in fighting forest fires among the compacting States of the region and with States which are party to other regional forest fire protection compacts or agreements. Article II This compact shall become operative immediately as to those States ratifying it whenever any two or more of the States of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia which are contiguous have ratified it and Congress has given consent thereto. Article III In each state the State forester or officer holding the equivalent position who is responsible for forest fire control shall act as compact administrator for that State and shall consult with like officials of the other member States and shall implement cooperation between such States in forest fire prevention and control. The compact administrators of the member States shall organize to coordinate the services of the member States and provide administrative integration in carrying out the purposes of this compact. The compact administrators shall formulate and, in accordance with need, from time to time revise a regional forest fire plan for the member States. It shall be the duty of each member State to formulate and put in effect a forest fire plan for that State and take such measures as may be necessary to integrate such forest fire plan with the regional forest fire plan formulated by the compact administrators. Article IV Whenever the State forest fire control agency of a member State requests aid from the State forest fire control agency of any other member State in combating, controlling or preventing forest fires, it shall be the duty of the State forest fire control agency of that State to render all possible aid to the requesting agency which is consonant with the maintenance of protection at home. Article V Whenever the forces of any member State are rendering outside aid pursuant to the request of another member State under this compact, the employes of such State shall, under the direction of the officers of the State to which they are rendering aid, have the same powers (except the power of arrest), duties, rights, privileges and immunities as comparable employes of the State to which they are rendering aid. No member State or its officers or employes rendering outside aid pursuant to this compact shall be liable on account of any act or omission on the part of such forces while so engaged or on account of the maintenance or use of any equipment or supplies in connection therewith. All liability, except as otherwise provided hereinafter, that may arise either under the laws of the requesting State or under the laws of the aiding State or under the laws of a third State on account of or in connection with a request for aid shall be assumed and borne by the requesting State. Any member State rendering outside aid pursuant to this compact shall be reimbursed by the member State receiving such aid for any loss or damage to or expense incurred in the operation of any equipment answering a request for aid, and for the cost of all materials, transportation, wages, salaries and maintenance of employes and equipment incurred in connection with such request: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall prevent any assisting member State from assuming such loss, damage, expense or other cost, or from loaning such equipment, or from donating such services to the receiving member State without charge or cost. Each member State shall provide for the payment of compensation and death benefits to injured employes and the representatives of deceased employes in case employes sustain injuries or are killed while rendering outside aid pursuant to this compact, in the same manner and on the same terms as if the injury or death were sustained within such State. For the purposes of this compact, the term employe shall include any volunteer or auxiliary legally included within the forest fire fighting forces of the aiding State under the laws thereof. The compact administrators shall formulate procedure for claims and reimbursement under the provisions of this article in accordance with the laws of the member States. Article VI Nothing in this compact shall be construed to authorize or permit any member State to curtail or diminish its forest fire fighting forces, equipment, services or facilities, and it shall be the duty and responsibility of each member State to maintain adequate forest fire fighting forces and equipment to meet demands for forest fire protection within its borders in the same manner and to the same extent as if this compact were not operative. Nothing in this compact shall be construed to limit or restrict the powers of any State ratifying the same to provide for the prevention, control and extinguishment of forest fires, or to prohibit the enactment or enforcement of State laws, rules or regulations intended to aid in such prevention, control and extinguishment in such State. Nothing in this compact shall be construed to affect any existing or future cooperative relationship or arrangement between the United States Forest Service and a member State or States. Article VII The compact administrators may request the United States Forest Service to act as the primary research and coordinating agency of the Middle Atlantic Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact in cooperation with the appropriate agencies in each State, and the United States Forest Service may accept the initial responsibility in preparing and presenting to the compact administrators its recommendations with respect to the regional fire plan. Representatives of the United States Forest Service may attend meetings of the compact administrators. Article VIII The provisions of Articles IV and V of this compact which relate to mutual aid in combating, controlling or preventing forest fires shall be operative as between any State party to this compact and any other State which is party to a regional forest fire protection compact in another region: Provided, That the Legislature of such other State shall have given its assent to such mutual aid provisions of this compact. Article IX This compact shall continue in force and remain binding on each State ratifying it until the Legislature or the Governor of such State takes action to withdraw therefrom. Such action shall not be effective until six (6) months after notice thereof has been sent by the chief executive of the State desiring to withdraw to the chief executives of all States then parties to the compact. Section 2. When the Governor shall have executed said compact on behalf of this Commonwealth and shall have caused a verified copy thereof to be filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and when said compact shall have been authorized by the Legislature and executed by the Governor of one or more of the States named in section one of this act, then said compact shall become operative and effective as between this Commonwealth and such other State or States. The Governor is hereby authorized and directed to take such action as may be necessary to complete the exchange of official documents as between this Commonwealth and any other State authorizing said compact. Section 3. The Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources, or someone designated by him, shall act as compact administrator for the Commonwealth and represent the Commonwealth in the Middle Atlantic Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact. (3 amended June 28, 1996, P.L.419, No.59) Section 4. This act shall become effective immediately upon final enactment.