[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Washington 6-13-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-02. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Municipality is hereby establishing a Municipal local Wildfire Safety Council within the Township of Washington, County of Burlington and State of New Jersey.
The purpose of a Municipal Wildfire Safety Council (WSC), within the Office of Emergency Management and LEPC is to coordinate wildfire prevention efforts. To coordinate these efforts the FSC may seek grant funding, propose and conduct outreach efforts, develop education opportunities to inform residents and forest property owners what they can do personally to reduce their wildfire risks. They may act as the point of contact for the New Jersey 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 for residents and emergency responders. A Wildfire Safety Council's purpose is to increase the wildfire prevention capacity in the municipality they serve.
The Council shall consist of a minimum of five members appointed by the Mayor, with membership as follows: the OEM Coordinator, the local Fire Chief(s) two, and two representatives from the LEPC/Community Forestry. 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 and appoint one member from the Township Committee to serve as liaison to the governing body. External advisors from the New Jersey State Forestry Services-Forest Fire Service, State Parks and Wildlife Services and other agencies may be designated as appropriate.
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 shall be in writing and a new member appointed by the Mayor.
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 and emergency responders for preparedness and training efforts. The FSC may conduct studies, training and outreach and seek technical and financial assistance for wildfire risk reduction. The FSC may seek local planning and development efforts to ensure fuel breaks and emergency access are utilized in fire-prone areas.
The FSC Council may form subcommittees of volunteers or enlist advisors to increase the Council's ability to address specific wildfire needs as they are identified.
The FSC shall conduct all formal meetings pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act (OPRA) and record minutes to reflect the business conducted during the meetings. The FSC shall meet biannually 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 Fire Warden at the New Jersey 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.
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.