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Grant funding available for rural fire departments: Deadline for apps is November 15th

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  • Staff Report 

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting applications for nearly $640,000 in Volunteer Fire Assistance grant funding to help rural fire departments protect public safety and natural resources.

The deadline for applications is Nov. 15.

“DEC’s Forest Rangers work closely with volunteer fire departments to battle wildfires, and this grant program is a great way to help fire personnel across the state,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “These grants bolster local capacity to fight wildland fires, protecting property and communities.”

The Volunteer Fire Assistance grant program is funded by the U.S. Forest Service and administered by DEC Forest Rangers. Fire departments will receive 50/50 matching funds up to $1,500. Last year, the program provided $1,500 grants to 412 fire departments.

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Only expenses directly related to wildfire suppression efforts are eligible for funding. These include the purchase of portable pumps, portable backpack pumps, hand tools, hoses, approved lightweight fire-resistant clothing, hard hats, turnout gear, portable radios, generators, and dry hydrants. Expenditures not directly related to firefighting, such as search and rescue, acquisition of land, construction of buildings and facilities, major apparatus purchases, and maintenance items are not eligible for funding.

Eligible fire departments include: those that serve a single town with a population under 10,000; those that serve multiple communities, one of which is a rural town of less than 10,000 residents; and fire departments in towns with a population of 10,000 or more that meet the application requirements. Fire departments that receive a grant award must complete all required grant paperwork.

For applications and additional information about the grant program, contact DEC at (518) 402-8839; write to NYSDEC, Division of Forest Protection, 625 Broadway 3rd Floor, Albany, NY 12233-2560; or visit the DEC website at