§ 1021 Appointment; term; oath of office.
(a) The Department of Agriculture may appoint suitable persons to serve under its direction either voluntarily or under compensation as state forest officers. Each officer so appointed shall be issued a certificate of appointment under the hand of the Secretary and shall be issued a badge as an insignia of authority. The appointee shall hold office until the appointee resigns or the appointment is revoked by the Secretary. Upon termination of appointment, service or authority, the appointee shall surrender and deliver to the Department the certificate, badge and other Department property in the appointee's possession.
(b) Before entering upon the duties of the office, each state forest officer shall take and subscribe the oath or affirmation as prescribed by the Constitution of the State for public officers, and the oath, subscribed by the officer, shall be kept in the files of the Department of Agriculture. Each person appointed and sworn as aforesaid shall be officially known as a state forest officer.
§ 1022 General powers and duties; powers and duties within assigned district; duties of owners and lessees.
(a) State forest officers shall have police powers similar to constables and other police officers throughout the State for the serving of warrants, summons, writs and other legal papers issued by any justice of the peace or court having jurisdiction in offenses against any law enacted for the protection of forest, brush, grass or wild lands, and they may arrest any person detected by them in the act of committing, or under such circumstances as warrant reasonable suspicion that such person is committing, or is about to commit an offense against any of the laws enacted for the protection of forest, brush, grass or wild lands in this State or any law, rule or regulation relating to the protection of any land, property, structure material or vegetation on lands under the administration or control of the Department. A state forest officer shall also have the power to make arrests of persons violating § 518 of Title 17 in the officer's presence or view or otherwise upon the issuance of an arrest warrant based on a showing of probable cause that the individual named in the warrant committed the violation.
(b) In addition to the powers and duties assigned in subsection (a) of this section, each state forest officer may, in any part of the State:
(1) Enter upon any land at any time for the purpose of performing duties in accordance with this title, and no action for trespass shall lie against a state forest officer or others employed by the officer while working under the officer's direction if in entering a property, they shall exercise due care to avoid doing unnecessary damage; and
(2) Arrest on sight, without first procuring a warrant, any person detected in the act of committing an offense against any of the laws enacted for the protection of forest, brush or wild lands from fire, or when the officer has a reasonable cause to suspect that such person is committing or is about to commit some such offense, and upon such arrest to take the accused before a justice of the peace of the county for hearing and trial.
(c) Each state forest officer shall have the control and direction of persons, material, equipment and property engaged in extinguishing forest fires within the district assigned to such officer, and such officer shall, upon discovering a fire on or approaching woodlands, forest or wild lands, or upon receiving report of such a fire has been reported to such officer take immediately such measures as are necessary to control and extinguish the same;
(d) Nothing in this title shall be construed so as to relieve the owner or lessee of lands upon which fires burn or are started from the duty of extinguishing such fires so far as it lies within the owner's or lessee's power, and no owner or lessee of land or anyone with a present vested interest in such land shall receive compensation from the State for helping or assisting in the extinguishment of fires upon the lands to which the owner's or lessee's interest is attached. No person who is responsible for starting a fire shall receive compensation for helping to extinguish such fire.
§ 1023 Fish and Wildlife Agents and police officers as ex officio state forest officers.
Fish and Wildlife Agents and state police officers shall be state forest officers ex officio and shall have the same powers and authority assigned to state forest officers appointed under this subchapter.