Public Act 095-0108
HB1638 Enrolled LRB095 08222 CMK 28392 b

    AN ACT concerning the environment.
    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
Illinois Prescribed Burning Act.
    Section 5. Legislative findings; purpose.
    (a) Prescribed burning is a land management tool that
benefits the safety of the public, the environment, and the
economy of the State. Therefore, the General Assembly finds
        (1) Most of the State's natural communities require
    periodic fire for maintenance of their ecological health.
    Prescribed burning is essential to the perpetuation,
    restoration, and management of many plant and animal
    communities. Significant loss of the State's biological
    diversity will occur if fire is excluded from these
    fire-dependent communities.
        (2) Public agencies and non-governmental organizations
    in the State have spent millions of dollars to purchase
    hundreds of thousands of acres of land for parks, wildlife
    areas, State forests, nature preserves and other outdoor
    recreational purposes. The use of prescribed burning for
    management of these public and private lands is essential
    to maintain the specific resource values for which these
    areas were acquired.
        (3) Forests, grasslands, and wetlands in the State
    constitute significant economic, biological, and aesthetic
    resources of statewide importance. Prescribed burning
    prepares sites for planting, removes undesirable competing
    vegetation, accelerates nutrient cycling, controls certain
    pathogens and noxious weeds, and promotes oak
    regeneration. In these communities, prescribed burning
    improves and maintains the quality and quantity of wildlife
        (4) Prescribed burning reduces naturally occurring
    vegetative fuels. Reducing the fuel load reduces the risk
    and severity of wildfires, thereby reducing the threat of
    loss of life and property.
        (5) Federal and State agencies promote and subsidize
    fire dependent vegetative communities and recommend
    prescribed burning as an essential management practice for
    many funded programs.
        (6) Proper training in the purposes, use, and
    application of prescribed burning is necessary to ensure
    maximum benefits and protection for the public.
        (7) Prescribed burning in the hands of trained,
    skilled, and experienced people is safe and often the most
    cost effective management technique to accomplish many
    ecosystem restoration objectives and ecological goals.
        (8) A public education program is necessary to make
    citizens and visitors aware of the public safety, natural
    resource, and economic benefits of prescribed burning and
    its use as a land management tool.
        (9) As development and urbanization increase in the
    State, pressures from liability issues, and nuisance
    complaints will inhibit the use of prescribed burning.
    (b) It is the purpose of this Act to authorize and to
promote the continued use of prescribed burning for ecological,
forest, wetland, wildlife management, and grassland management
    Section 10. Definitions. As used in this Act:
    (a) "Prescribed burning" means the planned application of
fire to naturally occurring vegetative fuels under specified
environmental conditions and following appropriate
precautionary measures, which causes the fire to be confined to
a predetermined area and accomplish the planned land management
    (b) "Certified prescribed burn manager" means an
individual who successfully completes an approved training
program and receives proper certification.
    (c) "Prescription" means a written plan for conducting a
prescribed burn.
    (d) "Department" means the Illinois Department of Natural
    Section 15. Requirements; liability.
    (a) Before conducting a prescribed burn under this Act, a
person shall:
        (1) obtain the written consent of the landowner;
        (2) have a written prescription approved by a certified
    prescribed burn manager;
        (3) have at least one certified prescribed burn manager
    present on site with a copy of the prescription while the
    burn is being conducted;
        (4) notify the local fire department, county
    dispatcher, 911 dispatcher, or other designated emergency
    dispatcher on the day of the prescribed burn; and
        (5) make a reasonable attempt to notify all adjoining
    property owners and occupants of the date and time of the
    prescribed burn.
    (b) The property owner and any person conducting a
prescribed burn under this Act shall be liable for any actual
damage or injury caused by the fire or resulting smoke upon
proof of negligence.
    (c) Any prescribed burning conducted under this Act:
        (1) is declared to be in the public interest;
        (2) does not constitute a public or private nuisance
    when conducted in compliance with Section 9 of the
    Environmental Protection Act and all other State statutes
    and rules applicable to prescribed burning; and
        (3) is a property right of the property owner if
    naturally occurring vegetative fuels are used.
    Section 20. Rules. The Department, in consultation with the
Office of the State Fire Marshall, shall promulgate rules to
implement this Act, including but not limited to, rules
governing prescribed burn manager certification and revocation
and rules governing prescribed burn prescriptions.
    Section 25. Exemption. Nothing in this Act shall be
construed as:
    (1) requiring certification as a prescribed burn manager to
conduct prescribed burning on one's own property or on the
lands of another with the landowner's permission; Section 15(b)
shall not apply to prescribed burns conducted under the
exemption in this item (1);
    (2) affecting any obligations or liability under the
Environmental Protection Act or any rules adopted thereunder,
or under any federal laws or rules that apply to prescribed
burning; or
    (3) superseding any local burning law.
    Section 30. Fees. The Department may charge and collect
fees from persons applying for safety training and
certification as a certified prescribed burn manager.
    Section 35. Severability. The provisions of this Act are
severable under Section 1.31 of the Statute on Statutes.
    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
becoming law.

Effective Date: 8/13/2007