Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 10.1. Conservation
Chapter 11. Forest Resources and the Department of Forestry
8/23/2019

§ 10.1-1141. Liability and recovery of cost of fighting forest fires by localities and the State Forester.

A. The State Forester in the name of the Commonwealth shall collect the costs of firefighting performed under the direction of a forest warden in accordance with § 10.1-1139 from any person who, negligently or intentionally without using reasonable care and precaution starts a fire or who negligently or intentionally fails to prevent its escape, which fire burns on any forestland, brushland, grassland or wasteland. Such person shall be liable for the full amount of all expenses incurred by the Commonwealth, for fighting or extinguishing such fire. All expenses collected shall be credited to the Forestry Operations Fund. It shall be the duty of the Commonwealth's attorneys to institute and prosecute proper proceedings under this section, at the instance of the State Forester.

B. Any locality may collect the costs of firefighting from any person who intentionally starts a fire and who fails to attempt to prevent its escape, which fire burns on any forestland, brushland, grassland or wasteland. Such person shall be liable for the full amount of all expenses incurred by the locality and any volunteer fire company or volunteer emergency medical services agency to fight or extinguish the fire and the reasonable administrative costs expended to collect such expenses. The locality shall remit any costs recovered on behalf of another entity to such entity.

C. The State Forester or a locality may institute an action and recover from either one or both parents of any minor, living with such parents or either of them, the cost of forest fire suppression suffered by reason of the willful or malicious destruction of, or damage to, public or private property by such minor. No more than $750 may be recovered from such parents or either of them as a result of any forest fire incident or occurrence on which such action is based.

Code 1950, §§ 10-58, 10-61; 1964, c. 79; 1986, c. 188; 1988, c. 891; 2008, c. 835; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.