Mexico / United States of America

Name of the Agreement and date

  • Wildfire protection agreement between the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture of the United States of America and the Secretariat of Environment, Natural Resources, and Fisheries of the United Mexican States for the common border.
  • Signed on June 4, 1999.

Parties

  • United States of America
  • Mexico

Purpose

  1. To enable wildfire protection resources originating in the territory of the one country to cross the United States-Mexico border in order to suppress wildfires on the other side of the border within the zone of mutual assistance in appropriate circumstances.
  2. The purpose of this Agreement is further to give authority for Parties to cooperate on other fire management activities outside the zone of mutual assistance. (Article I)

Definitions

  1. "Wildfire" means a fire that occurs in a "wildland" area, such as a range or forest, in which development is essentially non-existent except for roads, railroads, power lines, and similar transportation facilities, and structures, which if these exist, are widely scattered and are used primarily for recreation or agricultural purposes.
  2. "Wildfire protection resources" means personnel, supplies, equipment, aircraft, vehicles, vessels, radios and specialized machinery or other resources, whether owned or contracted, that are intended for wildfire suppression equipment or personnel.
  3. "Zone of mutual assistance" means the area of up to 16 kilometers (10 miles) on each side of the United States-Mexico border.
  4. "Receiving Party" means the party receiving wildfire protection resources.
  5. "Sending Party" means the party furnishing wildfire protection resources. (Article II)

Information and Coordination

  • N/A

Personnel and Equipment

  1. Any service performed in furtherance of this Agreement by an employee of a Party shall constitute service performed on behalf of that Party.
  2. The performance of a service under this Agreement by an employee, contractor, subcontractor or agent of one Party shall in no case render such person an employee, contractor, subcontractor or agent of the other Party. (Article VIII)

Expenses

  • Each Party shall assume all of its costs and expenses of furnishing wildland fire protection resources, including costs or damaged wildfire protection resources, according to the performances of this Agreement, unless otherwise agreed by the Parties. (Article IV)

Liabilities, Claims and Compensations

  1. Each Party hereby waives its claims against the other Party for compensation for loss, damage, personal injury, or death occurring as a consequence of the performance of this Agreement.
  2. Each Party shall, by contract or otherwise, extend the cross-waiver of liability set forth in paragraph 1 above to any contractors or subcontractors or agents or any state, regional, local, private or tribal fire organizations it may designate or assign to perform activities under this Agreement.
  3. The cross-waiver of liability set forth in paragraph 1 above shall not apply to:
    a) Claims between a Party and its agencies, employees, contractors, subcontractors or agents;
    b) Claims arising from willful misconduct; and
    c) Claims arising from criminal conduct. (Article V)

Limited territorial application

  • 16 kilometers (10 miles) on each side of the United States-Mexico border. (Article II.3)
  • Nevertheless, this Agreement gives authority for Parties to cooperate on other fire management activities outside the zone of mutual assistance. (Article I)

Border crossing

  • The Parties are committed to work together, with the involved agencies of their respective governments, to process appropriate legal documentation, within the applicable laws and regulations of both countries, and to otherwise facilitate entry to and exit from its territory of all personnel engaged in wildfire protection pursuant to this Agreement. Also, each Party shall undertake all reasonable steps and use its best efforts, within applicable laws and regulations of both countries, to facilitate the admission of all supplies, equipment, aircraft, vehicles, specialized machinery, or other equipment whether owned or contracted, that are used or intended for used in wildfire suppression or transport of wildfire suppression equipment or personnel pursuant to this Agreement without entry fees and without payment of any duties or taxes imposed by reason of importation. (Article VI)

Operating plans / Guidelines

  1. Annual Operating Plans shall be concluded and executed between the Parties.
  2. Each Annual Operating Plan shall:
    a) Identify designated points of contact responsible for fire suppression within the applicable subregion within the zone of mutual assistance;
    b) Set forth specific criteria for approving requests for wildfire protection resources;
    c) Develop plans for mobilization of wildfire protection resources on each side of the United States-Mexico border;
    d) Establish procedures for efficient and timely communication of relevant information between designated points of contact;
    e) Provide for complete and timely reporting and record-keeping of all wildfire suppression incidents occurring in the subregion within the zone of mutual assistance;
    f) Identify the necessary procedures and legal documentation, which are to be completed, with agencies of the governments, for the expeditious cross-border movement of wildfire protection resources;
    g) Specify the conditions and procedures for the reimbursement, as deemed appropriate, of the Sending Party for the furnishing of wildfire protection resources; and
    h) Include terms consistent with Article V a cross waiver for compensation for loss, damage, personal injury, or death occurring in consequence of the performance of this Agreement.
  3. The Parties may recommend the development of operating plans for other fire management activities outside the zone of mutual assistance, subject to the approval or their respective governments.
  4. The Parties shall maintain on file copies of all Annual Operating Plans. (Article VII)

Interpretation and Settlement of disputes

  • Any differences that arise in the interpretation or application of the provisions of this Agreement or any Annual Operating Plan negotiated pursuant hereto, shall be resolved by the Parties by means of negotiations and consultations. (Article X)

Entry into force, duration, termination and withdrawal

  • This Agreement shall enter into force upon signature by the Parties and shall remain in force for five years. (Article XI.1)
  • This Agreement may be terminated at any time by either Party upon six months written notice to the other Party. (Article XI.3)
  • The termination of this Agreement shall not affect the implementation of any fire suppression effort being carried out under this Agreement at the time when it was in force. (Article XI.4)

Amendments

  • This Agreement may only be amended or executed by mutual, written agreement of the Parties, and such agreement shall specify the date upon which such amendments shall take effect. (Article XI.2)

Other provisions

Legal Considerations and Relationship to other Agreements

  1. Activities under this Agreement shall be subject to the applicable laws, regulations, and policies of each Party and subject to the availability of funds.
  2. This Agreement is without prejudice to rights and obligations of the Parties under existing bilateral and multilateral agreements. (Article IX)

last updated:  Friday, June 28, 2002