States’ State of Emergencies for Wildfires
This article was published on Smokey Bear’s 67th birthday. Happy birthday to Smokey Bear!
There is always something going on in the approximately 3.5 million square miles that comprise our nation. If it is not hurricane season, it is tornado season; if not tornado season, it is wildfire season. These are the states that are working with the FMCSA, their own departments of transportation, and other relevant authorities to make truckers’ jobs easier in providing relief for areas hit by wildfires. Here are the ways truckers are affected for each state.
Section four of the California State of Emergency states that the system to procure goods, materials, and services to deal with the fires is shelved in regards to helping deal with the wildfire emergency. For truckers, this means that all trucking companies are on a more even playing field to get contracts to get deliveries done, as opposed to, hypothetically, giving preference for trucking companies headquartered within state borders.
Additionally, if you are a California trucker who becomes unemployed as a direct result of the fires, you do not need to wait a week to file for unemployment, and can do so right away.
Section three states “Consistent with Section 46-1008 of Idaho Code, this proclamation authorizes the resources of state government to be used to assist in efforts to deal with the declared state of disaster emergency.” Those resources include money that could be used to contract drivers to deliver emergency relief goods. No direct mention of delivery is mentioned in the Idaho State of Emergency, however.
Montana’s State of Emergency most closely parallels the COVID-19 national State of Emergency that has existed for over a year now. With different forms of fuel needing to be delivered for various reasons, including aviation fuel for “aerial assists”, the hours-of-service regulations for truckers are suspended for hauling applicable forms of fuel. Drivers must still take a break when feeling fatigued.
Additionally, trucks with loads over ten feet wide while traveling at night on non-interstate highways must have a flag vehicle guiding the driver.
Nevada cites a resource shortage and directs “all state agencies to supplement the efforts of political subdivisions to save lives, protect property, and protect the health and safety of persons in this state”, but is otherwise very vague with its wording.
No direct mention of trucks, but like Idaho, says “State agencies and departments are directed to utilize state resources in accordance with the Washington State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and to do everything reasonably possible to assist affected political subdivisions in an effort to respond to and recover from the event.”
Wyoming’s State of Emergency is similar to the one in Montana, but also covers more types of fuel such as gasoline and diesel for resident travel.
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