Wildland fires pose very different dangers to firefighters than interior structural fires and necessitate different protective gear. A federal program administered by DEM's Division of Forest Environment is making nearly $33,000 in matching grants available to help 16 rural volunteer fire departments in Rhode Island buy the right gear to stay safe.
PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in cooperation with the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the RI Forest Fire Advisory Committee, announces the award of 16 matching grants to rural volunteer fire departments for wildland fire suppression training and equipment. Totaling almost $33,000, the grants range in amounts up to $2,500 and are being made available through the federal Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) grant program.
"DEM is pleased to assist rural volunteer fire departments with funding to purchase equipment to help fight wildland fires in their communities," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Rhode Island's forested lands provide important wildlife habitat and enhance the character of local communities, and it's important that we protect these valuable natural assets from wildfire damage."
Administered by DEM Division of Forest Environment, the VFA program aims to improve the capacity and capability of fire departments in rural areas and rural communities to prevent and suppress wildfires. Local volunteer fire departments eligible for the grants include single fire departments serving a rural area or community with a population of 10,000 or less. Area fire departments and fire districts that serve an aggregate population of greater than 10,000 also are eligible for the grants if their service area includes a rural area or community with a population of 10,000 or less.
Local volunteer fire departments receiving grant awards include:
Burrillville: Harrisville, $2,000
Exeter: Exeter #1, $1,640
Foster: Foster Center, $1,255 Moosup Valley, $2,500 Potterville, $2,500 South Foster, $1,960
Hopkinton: Hope Valley Wyoming, $2,500
Lincoln: Lime Rock, $2,116 Saylesville, $1,339
Scituate: Hope Jackson, $450
Wakefield: Union, $2,250
Westerly: Dunn's Corners, $2,500 Misquamicut, $2,500 Watch Hill, $2,290
West Greenwich: Hianloland, $2,457 West Greenwich, $2,500
Grant funds may be used for wild land personnel protective equipment, pumps, and equipment used in wildland fire suppression; communication equipment; class A foam used in wildland fire suppression; equipment for foam application; hand or power tools used in wildland fire suppression; wildland Incident Command System training; and dry hydrants. The program requires a 50% local match that can include cash, in-kind contributions, donations, and administrative costs related to the project. Funds are provided on a reimbursement basis.
For more information about the Forest Fire program, www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) or Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM for timely updates.