USA — State Sen. Joe Scarnati, R-25 of Brockway, is encouraging local volunteer fire companies to apply for state grants to help with training and equipment purchases to fight brush and forest fires.
Scarnati said volunteer fire companies serving rural areas and communities with fewer than 10,000 residents where forest and brush fires are common are able to apply for grants of up to $7,500. Grants received for the 2014 program can be used for the purchase of wildfire suppression equipment, wildfire protective gear, mobile or portable radios, installation of dry hydrants, wildfire prevention and mitigation, or wildfire training. Funds may also be used for certain projects involving the conversion and maintenance of federal excess vehicles used for fire suppression.
“Volunteer fire companies play a crucial role in guarding our communities, which is why it is so important for us to help provide them with the resources they need to do that job effectively,” Scarnati said. “I am pleased that these grants will offer additional support, so that the brave men and women who volunteer to protect others have the necessary assistance and training to ensure their safety, and the safety of those they’re protecting.”
Scarnati noted that in 2013, funding of more than $500,000 was awarded to 130 volunteer fire companies serving rural areas and communities where forest and brush fires are common. Since it began in 1982, the program has awarded more than $10.5 million, which is paid through federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
Grants are awarded from the Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant Program, administered by the state Department of Conserva-tion and Natural Resources. Applications must be electronically submitted through DCNR’s eGrant Web page by 4 p.m. May 22. Applicants should visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us and click on “Apply for Grants.” Priority will be given to requests for projects that include the purchase of wildfire suppression equipment and protective clothing.
More information regarding the grant program is available by contacting the Bureau’s Division of Forest Fire Protection at 717-787-2925 or by visiting the DCNR website.