See also: Department of Fire, Building and Life Safety and State Land Department
The office of the State Forester was established in 1966. Originally part of the State Land Department, the State Forester was established as a separate position in 2004. In 2016, the State Fire Marshal was placed under the authority and direction of the State Forester. Statutes were reorganized as the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management and may be found at A.R.S. §§37-1301 through 37-1426.
The Department of Forestry and Fire Management is responsible for prevention and suppression of wildland fire on state trust land and private property located outside incorporated communities. The responsibilities of the State Fire Marshal, incorporated into the Department in 2016, include promoting public health and safety, conducting fire and arson investigations, enforcing the state fire code, certifying fire standard compliant cigarettes, and certifying trampoline courts.
Laws 1966, Chapter 20 established the office and responsibilities of the State Forester. The law allowed the State Land Commissioner to either serve concurrently as the State Forester or to appoint a person to the position.
Laws 1974, Chapter 59 authorized the State Forester to suppress wildfires on state and private land and to cooperate with the State Fire Marshal to prevent fires on rural land and wildlands.
Laws 1990, Chapter 387 allowed the State Forester to request the Governor to declare a wildland fire emergency.
Laws 1997, Chapter 249 authorized the State Forester to prohibit fires and fireworks. If a prohibition was announced, the State Forester was required to notify the Secretary of State and the media.
Laws 2003, Chapter 245 required the State Forester to provide information to legislative committees concerning current conditions of forests in Arizona, policies related to forest management, the wildland-urban interface, and emergency management issues.
Laws 2004, Chapter 326 established the State Forester as a position separate from the State Land Commissioner. The Governor was required to appoint the State Forester, rather than allowing the State Land Commissioner to serve in that capacity. Duties of the State Forester were expanded.
Laws 2012, Chapter 135 required the State Forester to develop an annual plan to deploy various governmental resources for wildfire suppression activities.
Laws 2014, Chapter 207 required the State Land Commissioner and the State Forester to establish a program, by January 1, 2016, to remove vegetative natural products for purposes of fire suppression and forest management. The deadline to establish the program was extended to January 1, 2018 by Laws 2017, Chapter 166.
Laws 2016, Chapter 128 abolished the Department of Fire, Building and Life Safety and divided its duties and responsibilities among three existing state agencies. The measure placed the State Fire Marshal under the authority and direction of the State Forester. The responsibilities (to promote public health and safety, reduce fire hazards, conduct fire and arson investigations, provide public education, adopt fire protection codes and training standards, conduct ignition testing for cigarettes, and to regulate and register trampoline courts) remained essentially the same. Statutes related to the State Forester and the State Fire Marshal were transferred and renumbered as A.R.S. §§37-1301 through 37-1426. The heading for Title 37, Chapter 9 was revised to: Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management.
Laws 2017, Chapter 258 authorized the Assistant Director of the Office of the State Fire Marshal, through the State Forester, to issue a cease and order based on specified circumstances, outlined procedures, and established civil penalties.
- Arizona Revised Statutes §§37-1301 through 37-1426
- Session Laws
- Laws 1966, Chapter 20
- Laws 1974, Chapter 59
- Laws 1990, Chapter 387
- Laws 1997, Chapter 249
- Laws 2003, Chapter 245
- Laws 2004, Chapter 326
- Laws 2012, Chapter 135
- Laws 2014, Chapter 207
- Laws 2016, Chapter 128
- Laws 2017, Chapter 166 and Chapter 258
Department of Forestry and Fire Management website
Related collections at Arizona State Archives
RG 195 – State Forestry Division