DNR helped 19 fire districts obtain funds for equipment in 2013

Refurbished water truck
Refurbishing a government surplus truck chassis into a water truck saved this small Jefferson County fire district — and taxpayers — thousands of dollars.

Often, small fire districts are the first responders to wildfires. Helping them stay ready to go with good equipment helps keep property and lives safe in rural areas.

In 2013, DNR awarded $185,000 to 19 fire districts/departments to organize, train, and equip their employees for the purpose of preventing and suppressing fires in rural areas.

Federal grants help these small districts rebuild used federal equipment, such as trucks, and put them into service within a year. The local fire district must also agree to assist DNR in fighting wildfires in Washington.

Administered by DNR through funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Wildland Fire Assistance Grant Program provides a 50 percent match for the purchase of general equipment for wildland fire suppression. These grants are made available through the Federal Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act and are open to all Washington fire districts/fire departments who currently provide wildland fire response to private, state, or federal ownerships and serving communities less than 10,000 residents.

By relying on used equipment from various federal agencies and helping to pay for its conversion into wildland use, the DNR-run program reduces costs for taxpayers and improves local and state agencies’ response to wildfires. Small fire districts apply to the program each year and DNR selects from the applicants.

The program can help newly formed fire districts, districts annexing unprotected lands, or districts unexpectedly losing equipment. Most trucks acquired under this program can be converted in less than six months, and for much less than it would cost to buy a new fire engine.

For interested fire districts and departments, DNR posts information at DNR Fire District Assistance web page.

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