More than $604,000 in grants are being awarded to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced Monday.
“A total of 142 volunteer fire companies across the state, all serving rural areas and communities where forest and brush fires are common, will benefit from these funds,” Dunn said. “One only has to look back to last spring when two wildfires spread over 8,000 acres in Monroe and Pike counties to appreciate the value of well-equipped and highly trained wildfire fighters.”
Local firefighting forces in rural areas or communities with fewer than 10,000 residents qualify for the aid.
“The readiness of these men and women is demonstrated every spring and summer when they answer assistance calls coming from other states, while also responding regularly to local woodland and brush fires,” Dunn said. “These federal grants allow firefighters from smaller companies to concentrate more on public safety and training while easing their fiscal constraints.”
Grants and other assistance are provided through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry, with funding supplied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service through the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978.
The key objective is to better equip and train volunteers to save lives and protect property in unprotected or inadequately protected rural areas. Grant recipients are selected based on vulnerability and adequacy of existing fire protection.
In reviewing applications, the bureau placed priority on applications seeking funds for projects that included purchasing wildfire-suppression equipment and protective clothing.
Grants also were awarded for mobile or portable radios, water supply installations, wildfire prevention and mitigation, wildfire fighting training, and to convert and maintain federal excess vehicles the bureau receives and uses for fire suppression.
Grants for any project during a fiscal year cannot exceed 50 percent of the actual expenditures. The maximum grant awarded was $7,500.
Aid is granted on a cost-share basis, with recipients supplying matching funds.
2017 Grant Applications
DCNR will begin accepting applications for the 2017 round of rural firefighting grants will begin on March 7 and will close on May 19.Only online applications will be accepted. Click Here to apply. For more information, contact DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry Division of Forest Fire Protection in Harrisburg by calling 717-787-2925.