An ordinance to establish a local Wildfire Safety Council in the [Municipality], County of [County] and State of New Jersey.
SECTION 1. Creation: The Municipality is hereby established pursuant to ordinance number xxxxxxxxxxxx as contained in the Municipal code book.
SECTION 2. Purpose: The purpose of a Municipal Wildfire Safety Council (WSC) is to coordinate wildfire prevention efforts within the given Municipality. To coordinate these efforts the FSC may seek grant funding, propose and conduct outreach efforts, develop education opportunities to inform residents what they can do personally to reduce their wildfire risks. They may act as the point of contact for the NJ Forestry Services, Forest Fire Service and their many outreach and educational efforts including but not limited to; Firewise Communities, Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP), and Ready Set Go, for the purpose of reducing the risk of wildfire for all residents. The FSC may seek technical assistance from State and Federal agencies and arrange and conduct training exercises for residents and Municipal staff. A Wildfire Safety Council’s purpose is to increase the wildfire prevention capacity in the Municipality they serve.
SECTION 3. Members: The Council shall consist of a minimum of five (5) members appointed by the Mayor, with membership recommendations as follows: the OEM Coordinator, the local Fire Chief(s) (or representative of the local fire company(s), businesses or companies with an interest in wildfire, (insurance and utility companies) as well as interested residents. The members shall serve without compensation except as hereinafter provided. The Mayor shall designate one of the members to serve as Chairman and presiding officer of the Commission. The terms of the office of the first council-members shall be for 1,2,or 3 years to be designated by the Mayor in making his/her appointments and their successors shall be appointed for terms of 3-years and until the appointment and qualification of their successors. The first members of the Council shall be appointed for the following terms.
- Class A Member: Member for the 1-year term expiring December 31, (year), Fire Chief or designee.
- Class B Member: 1 member for the 2 year term expiring December 31, (year), OEM Coordinator or Deputy
- 3-5 members for the 3-year term expiring December 31, (year). Interested members from the local community including, local planner, construction code official, residents in fire prone areas, insurance company representatives, Utility Company representatives.
- One member from the Township Committee/Borough Council to serve as liaison to local governing board.
- External advisors from the: NJ State Forestry Services-Forest Fire Service, etc as needed.
The mayor or governing body may remove any member of the Council for cause, on written charges served upon the member and after the hearing thereon at which the member shall be entitled to be heard in person or by counsel. A vacancy on the Council occurring otherwise than expiration of a term shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as an original appointment.
SECTION 4. Powers and Duties: The Wildfire Safety Council is established for the protection of Municipal residents by increasing the capacity of; education, training and prevention efforts. The Council shall have the power to seek grant funds, coordinate efforts to increase outreach, provide education and training and act as a link to the local fire companies for evacuation and t training efforts. The FSC may conduct studies, training, outreach and seek technical and financial assistance for wildfire risk reduction. The FSC may coordinate local planning efforts to ensure fuel breaks may be constructed in new developments and with the Construction code Official to ensure that appropriate fire retardant building materials are used when practical and applicable in fire prone areas.
The FSC Council may form sub-committees of volunteers or enlist advisors to increase the Council’s ability to address specific wildfire needs as they are identified.
SECTION 5. Records and Reporting: The FSC shall conduct all meetings pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act (OPRA) and record minutes to reflect the business conducted during the meetings. The FSC shall meet quarterly or more frequently as needed to address the specific needs of the Municipality. The FSC shall submit an annual report to the Mayor and to the State Forest Firewarden at the NJ Forestry Services, Forest Fire Service to provide an accounting of the official duties performed and tasks completed by the Council during the preceding year. The report shall be submitted by February 1 of each calendar year.
SECTION 6. Finance and Appropriations: The FSC may seek, accept and spend grant or donated funds for projects submitted to address the wildfire needs of the Municipality. The FSC may manage any Municipal funds as appropriated, subject to the approval of the governing body.
SECTION 7. Implementation: This ordinance shall take effect upon its passage and publication according to law.