Keywords:Administrative Tribunals Act – s. 16; Wildfire Act – s. 25; Wildfire Regulation – s. 31; wildfire; cost recovery order; fire suppression costs; consent order
Dustin Lee Chambers appealed an order issued in April 2019 by the Manager, Provincial Wildfire Coordination Centre (the “Manager”), Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (the “Ministry”).
On April 18, 2016, a wildfire ignited on Mr. Chambers’ property located near Baldonnel, BC. The wildfire spread to adjacent Crown land. Firefighting crews responded from the Ministry’s Wildfire Service and local fire departments. The Wildfire Service declared the wildfire out on June 2, 2016.
The Manager determined that debris piles that Mr. Chambers lit on his property in mid-March 2016 caused ‘holdover’ fires that later emerged and caused the wildfire. The Manager ordered Mr. Chambers to pay the Ministry’s fire suppression costs totalling $64,655.98 under section 25 of the Wildfire Act and section 31 of the Wildfire Regulation.
Mr. Chambers appealed the order. He submitted that the Manager’s conclusion about the cause of the wildfire was inconsistent with information from the Ministry’s investigation, and the Manager’s decision-making process was procedurally unfair and failed to provide Mr. Chambers with a meaningful opportunity to be heard.
Before the appeal was heard by the Commission, the parties negotiated an agreement to resolve the appeal.
By consent of the parties, the Commission ordered that the Manager’s order was rescinded, and the appeal was allowed.