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§20-3-8. Duty of railroad company to protect against fires.

Every railroad company or other company operating a steam, diesel or other type of locomotive shall clear, for a slope distance of twenty-five feet from the outside rail, or to the limits of the right-of-way if less than twenty-five feet, hazardous areas as designated by the state forester or his duly authorized representative, at least once a year, all grass, brush, and other inflammable materials. Any such company that fails to remove said materials from such road or right-of-way shall be assessed by the department of natural resources $500 for each mile of road or right-of-way which is not maintained in accordance with this section. Any revenue derived from this section shall be deposited in the State Treasury and credited to the department of natural resources and shall be used and paid out, upon order of the director, for forest fire prevention activities within the department of natural resources.

Each such company shall employ sufficient personnel to promptly put out fires on such road or right-of-way at times when such land is in a dry and dangerous fire condition. Each such company shall provide internal combustion engines of motive power other than steam used in road service, if not equipped with exhaust driven centrifugal turbocharger, shall have installed integral with the exhaust gas system, a spark- arresting device of a type certified according to the recommended practices of the association of American railroads and approved by the director so as to give the best practical protection against the escape of fire and sparks from the exhausts thereof.

No such company, or any employee thereof, shall deposit, cast, or discharge fire coals, or ashes or any other material capable of igniting fires on that part of its road or right-of-way which passes through forest land, or lands subject to fire from any cause, unless the fire therein is immediately extinguished. No such company, or employee thereof, shall place a lighted fusee along such roads or rights-of-way in such a manner as will cause the same to ignite inflammable substances which may cause fire to spread to forest land. In case of any uncontrolled or unguarded fire on such part of its road or right-of-way, the company shall use all practicable means to extinguish it even when the fire spreads to the property of another. Engineers, conductors, trainmen, or other persons who, while working for such companies, discover or know of any fire on, along or near such part of the road or right-of-way of their employer, shall report the same as soon as possible to the state forester or his duly authorized representative. Unless otherwise provided for by law, any such company, or any officer or employee thereof, violating any provision of this section, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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