DNR secures more equipment and training for Washington’s rural fire districts

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

Small fire districts are often the first responders to a wildfire, yet they often lack the equipment and training they need to protect lives and property in rural areas.

That’s where DNR’s Fire District Assistance Program comes into play. The program helps reduce costs for Washington’s taxpayers and improves local response to wildfires by providing fire districts with access to surplus federal vehicles and other equipment through the Firefighter Property Program. So far in 2014, fire districts have acquired 14 excess Department of Defense vehicles that will be converted to fire engines and water tenders. Most of the equipment 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. Check out some of the incredible equipment on DNR’s Flickr site.

In addition, DNR awards volunteer fire assistance grants with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The fire assistance grants provide 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.

In 2014 to date, DNR awarded $349,000 to 77 fire districts/departments to help train and equip firefighters, and purchase and refurbish fire equipment for the purpose of preventing and suppressing wildland fires.

For interested fire districts and departments, more information is on DNR’s Fire District Assistance webpage.

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