Applications are being accepted for federally funded Volunteer Fire Assistance grants to help rural fire departments enhance their wildfire fighting capabilities. The deadline for applications is May 15.
“Rural fire departments work with state Forest Rangers to fight wildfires that threaten our natural resources and these grants will help them prepare for the challenge of fighting wildfires,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens.
The grant program is funded by the U.S. Forest Service and administered by DEC. If awarded, fire departments will receive 50/50 matching funds up to $1,000. Last year, the program provided $1,000 grants to 475 fire departments.
Only expenses directly related to fire suppression efforts are eligible for funding. These include the purchase of portable pumps, portable backpack pumps, hand tools, hoses, lightweight fireproof clothing, hard hats, turnout gear, portable radios, generators and dry hydrants. Expenditures not directly related to firefighting, such as search and rescue, acquisition of land, construction of buildings and facilities, major apparatus purchases and maintenance items are not eligible.
Eligible fire companies include those that serve a single town with a population of 10,000 or fewer and those that serve multiple communities including one that is a rural town of fewer than 10,000 residents. Fire departments must provide half the cost of the project being funded. All funded projects should be completed by October 31, 2012.
For applications or more information, contact DEC at (518) 402-8839, or write to NYSDEC, Division of Forest Protection, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-2560 or, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/2364.html.