Gov. Wolf announces grants for local volunteer fire departments to fight wildfires

Local News

HARRISBURG — On Wednesday, Governor Tom Wolf announced $602,306 in grants has been awarded to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities increase protection from wildfires. 

The grants were awarded to qualifying local firefighting forces in rural areas and communities with fewer than 10,000 people. Volunteer fire departments in Albion, Edinboro and Greenfield Township in Erie County and Randolph, Tidioute, Venango and West Meadville District 2 in Crawford County all qualified.

The funding may be used for training and equipment purchases directly related to fighting brush and forest fires.

​”Our first responders take their responsibility to protect communities and our natural resources very seriously and an important way to show our appreciation is to ensure they have the necessary tools and resources,” Gov. Wolf said. “These grants will allow our first responders to prepare for and, if needed, douse dangerous wildfires so that our communities remain safe.”

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego thanked volunteer fire companies for their service to communities close to home, as well as those members who often join DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry crews who battled wildfires beyond Pennsylvania’s borders. They noted the wildfire grants help enable smaller companies to concentrate more on public safety and training while easing their fiscal constraints. 

“Obviously wildfires continue to grab our attention, especially while other states are dealing with their crippling impacts.” Trego said. “As Pennsylvania heads into its wildfire season, there’s no better time to focus on getting our first responders the resources they need. Grant programs like these are vital lifelines for our departments to procure the needed equipment and training for professional, coordinated and safe response efforts.” 

Grants are awarded on a cost-share basis. The maximum grant awarded in 2021 is $10,000 and cannot exceed 50% of the actual expenditures of local, public, and private nonprofit organizations in the agreement.

Grants may also be used for purchasing mobile or portable radios, installing dry hydrants, wildfire prevention and mitigation work, training wildfire fighters, or converting and maintaining federal excess vehicles. The vehicles are presented to the local departments exhibiting the greatest needs and those that commit to outfitting them for fire suppression. 

The full list of recipients is available HERE.

In 2020, more than $591,000 was awarded to 109 volunteer fire companies in Pennsylvania. The grant program, offered through DCNR and paid through federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, has awarded more than $14.5 million since it began in 1982.  

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