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Wildfire Program Provides Over $216,000 to Rural Departments
Ohio Ag Connection - 04/18/2017

With a focus on making improvements that will better protect Ohioans and local first responders, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) recently approved federal grant funding for 37 projects statewide for fire departments and fire associations serving small communities across Ohio.

Out of Ohio's nearly 1,300 fire departments statewide, approximately 900 are classified as rural, with populations under 10,000, and these departments are primarily staffed by volunteers. The average annual budget for an Ohio rural fire department is $35,000 per year, with many fire departments operating on $10,000 or less annually. These federal Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) grants are used to upgrade equipment at existing fire departments and to assist new departments with organizational, training and equipment costs.

The ODNR Division of Forestry has recommended 37 fire departments and support organizations in 20 Ohio counties to receive a total of $216,007. For the 2017 VFA grant cycle, these matching grant funds will be used for the purchase of wildland fire slip-in pumper units, wildland fire personal protective equipment, all terrain and utility vehicles, Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS) equipment and conversion of Federal Excess Personal Property into fire apparatus.

Administered by the ODNR Division of Forestry, VFA grants provide up to $10,000 to communities with populations of fewer than 10,000 residents. A local match is required.

The ODNR Division of Forestry has awarded more than 1,500 grants to Ohio rural fire departments since the VFA program was established in 1978.

The ODNR Division of Forestry works to promote the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio's public and private woodlands. To learn more about Ohio's woodlands, visit forestry.ohiodnr.gov.

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