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Governor Rendell Announces Record Funding for
State’s Volunteer Forest Firefighters
-- Governor Edward G. Rendell said a record level of grant funding would be made available to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities better guard against the threat of fires in forested, undeveloped and unprotected areas.
“The value of having well-trained, well-equipped local firefighting forces in rural areas was demonstrated last spring when volunteers across the state responded to hundreds of brush and forest fires,” said Governor Rendell. “These brave men and women who answer the call in woodlands near their homes are the most deserving of the grants their fire and rescue companies receive.”
A record $557,085 is being made available to volunteers this year. A total of 156 companies across the state were assisted last year with grants totaling $514,405. More than $6.5 million has been awarded during the past 25 years.
The grants and other forms of assistance are offered annually through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, with funding supplied by the USDA Forest Service through the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 (Volunteer Fire Assistance).
“As the state agency responsible for protecting our state forests from fire, DCNR sees these grants as a boon to helping better organize, train and equip local firefighting forces in rural areas,” DCNR Secretary Michael DiBerardinis said. “The number of Pennsylvania homes and communities in wooded and rural areas continues to grow each year, as does the threat of wildfires.”
Applications for the grants must be received at the Harrisburg headquarters of DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry by 4 p.m. on Friday, April 27.
In reviewing applications, the bureau will place priority on those seeking funds for projects that include the purchase of wildfire suppression equipment and protective clothing.
Grants also may be used for mobile or portable radios, installation of dry hydrants, wildfire prevention and mitigation, wildfire fighter training, or conversion and maintenance of federal excess vehicles received from the bureau and are being used for fire suppression.
Overseen by DCNR's Bureau of Forestry, aid is granted on a cost-share basis. Grants for any project during a fiscal year cannot exceed 50 percent of the actual expenditures of local, public and private nonprofit organizations in the agreement.
The maximum grant that will be considered from any fire company in 2007 is $7,500. All items approved for purchase under the 2007 fiscal year program must be purchased between Oct. 1, 2006, and Nov. 30, 2007.
Grant applications and more information may be obtained from the Bureau of Forestry’s Division of Forest Fire Protection. Contact Forest Program Specialist Charles C. Choplick at (717) 787-2925, or
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