A-32991, AUGUST 25, 1930, 10 COMP. GEN. 86

A-32991: Aug 25, 1930

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1930: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 11. COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS HAVE BEEN ENTERED INTO BY THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE WITH THE FOREST SERVICE AND THE (STATE) FIRE WARDEN OF THAT PARTICULAR DISTRICT WHEREBY IMMEDIATE ATTENTION CAN BE GIVEN TO ANY FIRES IN THE VICINITY OF THESE PARKS. EMERGENCY RATIONS AND FIRE-FIGHTING EQUIPMENT ARE KEPT ON HAND AT DIFFERENT PLACES WITHIN THE NATIONAL PARK BOUNDARIES FOR USE IN FIGHTING FOREST FIRES. UNDER THESE AGREEMENTS RATIONS IN THE AMOUNT OF APPROXIMATELY $250 WERE FURNISHED BY THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE TO THE (STATE) FIRE WARDEN. IN THE CONTROL OF THIS FIRE APPROXIMATELY $130 OF NATIONAL PARK SERVICE FIRE-FIGHTING EQUIPMENT WAS EITHER LOST OR DESTROYED BY FIRE WHILE IT WAS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE (STATE) FIRE WARDEN.

A-32991, AUGUST 25, 1930, 10 COMP. GEN. 86

ACCOUNTING - FUNDS RECEIVED BY NATIONAL PARKS FOR EMERGENCY SUPPLIES AND FIRE-FIGHTING EQUIPMENT UNDER EXISTING COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS BETWEEN FEDERAL AND STATE FIRE FIGHTING AGENCIES, FUNDS RECEIVED FROM A STATE AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR NATIONAL PARK EMERGENCY RATIONS USED AND FIRE-FIGHTING EQUIPMENT LOST BY THE STATE FIRE-FIGHTING AUTHORITIES IN THE SUPPRESSION OF A FIRE WHICH THREATENED AN NATIONAL PARK MAY BE USED TO REPLACE SUCH SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, AUGUST 25, 1930:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 11, 1930, AS FOLLOWS:

DUE TO EXTREME FIRE HAZARDS WHICH PREVAIL IN THE VICINITY OF SEQUOIA AND GENERAL GRANT NATIONAL PARKS, CALIFORNIA, COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS HAVE BEEN ENTERED INTO BY THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE WITH THE FOREST SERVICE AND THE (STATE) FIRE WARDEN OF THAT PARTICULAR DISTRICT WHEREBY IMMEDIATE ATTENTION CAN BE GIVEN TO ANY FIRES IN THE VICINITY OF THESE PARKS.

EMERGENCY RATIONS AND FIRE-FIGHTING EQUIPMENT ARE KEPT ON HAND AT DIFFERENT PLACES WITHIN THE NATIONAL PARK BOUNDARIES FOR USE IN FIGHTING FOREST FIRES, WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, THE FOREST SERVICE, OR THE (STATE) FIRE WARDEN OF THAT DISTRICT MAY MAKE USE OF BOTH RATIONS AND FIRE-FIGHTING EQUIPMENT.

UNDER THESE AGREEMENTS RATIONS IN THE AMOUNT OF APPROXIMATELY $250 WERE FURNISHED BY THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE TO THE (STATE) FIRE WARDEN, TOGETHER WITH A LARGE QUANTITY OF EQUIPMENT, IN THE SUPPRESSION OF THE SOUTH FORK FIRE ON JULY 20, 1930, WHICH THREATENED THE SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK.

IN THE CONTROL OF THIS FIRE APPROXIMATELY $130 OF NATIONAL PARK SERVICE FIRE-FIGHTING EQUIPMENT WAS EITHER LOST OR DESTROYED BY FIRE WHILE IT WAS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE (STATE) FIRE WARDEN. THE STATE AUTHORITIES HAVE BEEN BILLED FOR THE COST OF BOTH THE FOOD AND THE EQUIPMENT LOST. WE ARE ADVISED THAT PAYMENT WILL SOON BE MADE.

WE HAVE INSTRUCTED OUR SUPERINTENDENT OF SEQUIOA NATIONAL PARK THAT WHEN THE MONEY IS RECEIVED FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA IT IS NOT TO BE PLACED IN THE SPECIAL DISBURSING AGENT'S SPECIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNT PENDING ADVICE FROM YOUR OFFICE AS TO THE PROPER DISPOSITION TO BE MADE OF THE FUNDS.

YOUR OPINION IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER IT WILL BE PERMISSIBLE TO PURCHASE FROM SUCH FUNDS RECEIVED FROM THE STATE, AND PLACED IN THE SPECIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNT, EMERGENCY SUPPLIES AND FIRE FIGHTING EQUIPMENT TO REPLACE THAT USED AND LOST BY THE (STATE) FIRE WARDEN IN EXTINGUISHING THE ABOVE MENTIONED FIRE.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD FROM YOUR SUBMISSION THAT THE SOUTH FORK FIRE OF JULY 20, 1930, WAS NOT IN A NATIONAL PARK, ALTHOUGH, AS YOU STATE, IT MAY HAVE THREATENED THE SAME; THAT THE SUPPRESSION OF SUCH FIRE WAS UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE STATE FIRE WARDEN; AND THAT THE USING OF THE PARK'S FIRE-FIGHTING EQUIPMENT AND EMERGENCY RATIONS FOR MEN ENGAGED IN THE WORK WAS MERELY RESORTED TO AS A MATTER OF EMERGENCY UNDER EXISTING COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS WITH THE STATE AGENCIES. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, THE COST OF THE EQUIPMENT AND RATIONS USED, LOST, OR DESTROYED BY THE STATE FIRE- FIGHTING FORCES WOULD NOT BE A PROPER CHARGE UNDER FEDERAL APPROPRIATIONS MADE AVAILABLE BY LAW FOR FIRE FIGHTING PURPOSES IN NATIONAL PARKS; THAT IS TO SAY, THE RATIONS AND EQUIPMENT WERE NOT USED FOR SUCH PURPOSES AS CONTEMPLATED BY SUCH APPROPRIATIONS.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE FACTS AND IN SPECIFIC ANSWER TO THE QUESTION SUBMITTED, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT THERE APPEARS NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO THE USE OF THE FUNDS RECEIVED FROM THE STATE TO REPLACE THE EMERGENCY SUPPLIES AND FIRE-FIGHTING EQUIPMENT USED AND LOST BY THE STATE FIRE WARDEN IN THE SUPPRESSION OF THE FIRE IN QUESTION. MANIFESTLY, THE GOVERNMENT COULD ACCEPT A REPLACEMENT IN KIND OF THE RATIONS AND EQUIPMENT USED BY THE STATE AND NOT RETURNED BY IT BECAUSE LOST OR CONSUMED, AND THE PROCEDURE PROPOSED WOULD ACCOMPLISH THE SAME END IN A MORE SATISFACTORY WAY. COURSE, THE REQUIREMENTS OF LAW AS TO ADVERTISING, ETC., ARE TO BE OBSERVED IN MAKING THESE REPLACEMENT PURCHASES THE SAME AS IN OTHER GOVERNMENT PURCHASES.