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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

88.14 Disposal of slashings and debris.

Subdivision 1. Order to dispose. Where and whenever in the judgment of the commissioner or any forest officer there is or may be danger of starting and spreading of wildfires from slashings and debris from the cutting of timber of any kind and for any purpose, or from any accumulation of sawdust, shavings, chips, bark, edgings, slabs, or other combustible refuse from the manufacture of lumber or other timber products the commissioner, or forest officer, shall order the person by or for whom the timber or timber products have been or are being cut or manufactured to dispose of such slashings, debris, or refuse as the state employee may direct. Where conditions do not permit the burning of the slashings, debris, or refuse over the entire area so covered, the commissioner may require such person to dispose of the same in such a way as to establish a safe fire line around the area requiring such protection, the fire line to be of a width and character satisfactory to the commissioner, or otherwise to dispose of the same so as to eliminate the wildfires hazard therefrom.

Subd. 2. Penalty. When any person who has been directed by the commissioner, or forest officers to dispose of such slashings, debris, or refuse fails to comply with these directions the person shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.

Subd. 3. Entry to dispose; lien. When any such slashings, debris, or refuse are not disposed of or are left unattended for a period exceeding 30 days, contrary to the instructions of the commissioner, or forest officer, the commissioner, or any forest officer or fire warden, may go upon the premises with as many workers as may be necessary and burn or otherwise dispose of the same and the expense thereof shall be a lien upon the land on which they are situated and upon all contiguous lands of the same owner, and also upon all logs and other timber products cut or manufactured upon all these lands. This lien shall have the same effect and may be enforced in the same manner as a judgment in favor of the state for money. An itemized statement verified by the oath of the commissioner, or forest officer, of the amount of the costs and expenses incurred in burning or otherwise disposing of these slashings, debris, or refuse shall be recorded, within 90 days from the time the disposal thereof is completed, in the office of the county recorder, or, if the property is registered, in the office of the registrar of titles of the county in which the timber or timber products were cut or manufactured; and the amount of the lien shall be a valid claim that may be collected in a civil action from the person who cut or manufactured the wood, timber, or timber products from which the slashings, debris, or refuse were produced. Any moneys so collected shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the general fund.

Subd. 4. Disposal requirement; roadbed or right-of-way. Any person who cuts or fells trees or bushes of any kind in clearing land for any roadbed or right-of-way for any railroad, highway, or trail shall, in the manner and at the time as above prescribed, properly dispose of all combustible material.

Subd. 5. Fire prohibition. Any person who cuts or fells trees or bushes of any kind in clearing land for any purpose is hereby prohibited from setting fire to any slashings, brush, roots, or excavated stumps or other combustible material on such land and letting the fire run; but the same must be disposed of pursuant to the rules or directions of the commissioner.

Subd. 6. Public road contractor. Any contractor who enters into a contract for the construction of a public road or other work, which involves the cutting or grubbing of woods, standing timber, or brush, shall properly dispose of such slashings and debris without damage to adjoining timber or woods. The foregoing provisions shall not prevent the leaving of such trees along roads as will be useful for ornamental and shade purposes and which will not interfere with travel.

Subd. 7. Contract terms. Every contract made by or on behalf of any municipality or political subdivision of this state which involves the cutting of any timber on the right-of-way of a public highway shall provide in terms for compliance with the foregoing provisions, but the failure to include this provision in the contract shall not relieve the contractor from the duty to dispose of these slashings.

Subd. 8. Disposal requirement; forest land. In all cases not herein provided for, where timber is cut in, upon, or adjoining any forest land and no specific directions are given by the commissioner, or forest officer, for the disposal of slashings and debris resulting therefrom, all such slashings and debris within 200 feet of any adjoining timber land or any public highway, railroad, portage, or lake shore, shall be properly disposed of by the person by or for whom the timber was cut.

Subd. 9. Prohibited deposits. No sawdust, shavings, chips, bark, edgings, slabs, or other combustible refuse that the commissioner or an agent of the commissioner determines to be a wildfire hazard shall be made or deposited upon any public highway, portage, railroad, or lake shore, or within 100 feet thereof.

HIST: (4031-19) 1925 c 407 s 19; 1929 c 360 s 1; 1967 c 146 s 11; 1976 c 181 s 2; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1986 c 444; 1989 c 335 art 4 s 106; 1993 c 328 s 22; 2005 c 4 s 13