DOVER − The Delaware Forest Service (DFS) is offering up to $4,500 in grants to help fire companies in the First State improve their readiness and ability to fight wildfires. The deadline is May 1 and the form is available on-line. Funded by the U.S. Forest Service, the Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) program has provided more than 120 grants worth almost $300,000 to Delaware volunteer fire companies over the past 10 years.
“Volunteer fire companies are very important to the Delaware Forest Service and the citizens of the First State. They are the invaluable first responders to all types of emergencies, including wildfires in our fields, woods, and marshlands,” said Kyle Hoyd, Assistant State Forester and director of the agency’s Wildland Fire Program. “This grant program can help companies increase their capability to meet this need by matching their spending on specialized wildfire equipment and resources.”
All grants require a 50-50 cost-share match and priority will be given to applicants that have not received funding in the past three years. The VFA grant program has proven to be a cost-effective way to leverage limited federal funding. While grant applicants must provide at least 50 percent cost-share match in cash or in-kind services, many recipients have often provided more – producing an average of $1.61 in matched spending. Funds can be used to pay for specialized equipment to help volunteer firefighters meet the unexpected and often unpredictable threat of wildfires in fields, forests, open spaces, and marshes, which is often distinctly different from structural firefighting.
Applications must be received by the Delaware Forest Service, 2320 S. DuPont Highway, Dover, 19901 no later than May 1, 2017.
Please make note of the submission instructions at the bottom of the application.
Funds may not be used to purchase vehicles (trucks/UTV’s/ATV’s) or structural firefighting gear (turnout coats, hardhats, gloves, lights, etc.) Funding is for wildland firefighting hose, safety gear, brush unit pumps/skids, and hand tools. Fire companies with any questions about the application process or what can be purchased can contact Kyle Hoyd at (302) 698-4548 or Kyle.Hoyd@delaware.gov.
In the past fiscal year, the Delaware Forest Service assisted 43 of Delaware’s 60 volunteer fire companies (72%) either through wildfire suppression, loaning of equipment, or training. In addition to the fire assistance grants, the Delaware Forest Service also provides funding to help provide basic wildland firefighting courses for volunteer firefighters. The Delaware Forest Service also works in association with the Delaware State Fire School to help train wildland firefighters.