Rural Fire Assistance Grants AvailableThe Rural Fire Assistance (RFA) Grant Program was developed by the U.S. Department of Interior to improve safety, enhance firefighting resource capability, and improve readiness of rural fire departments (RFD) that play a substantial role responding to wildland fires on or near Department of Interior protected lands.
The Rural Fire Assistance (RFA) Grant Program was developed by the U.S. Department of Interior to improve safety, enhance firefighting resource capability, and improve readiness of rural fire departments (RFD) that play a substantial role responding to wildland fires on or near Department of Interior protected lands. Emphasis is placed on RFDs that protect rural communities and play an important cooperative role in the protection of Department of Interior-managed lands. Through this grant program, the federal government funds 90 percent of requests, while the RFD contributes 10 percent in funding or in-kind goods or services.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency within the Department of Interior, coordinated the grant submissions of RFDs near national wildlife refuges in the eight states that make up the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Midwest Region: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Funds for 2009 grants are now available. Instructions for the application process can be found at the following Web site: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/Fire. The pre-application form located at this Web site is the first step in the application process and must be filled out and sent in to assist in eligibility determination. Those without internet access can obtain information by contacting their local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office or Regional RFA Coordinator Valdo Calvert at 612-713-5445.
The 2008 Rural Fire Assistance Grant Program provided funding for RFDs to purchase personal protective equipment such as Nomex clothing (shirts, trousers and coveralls), hardhats, gloves, and fire shelters. Other gear included communications equipment, hand tools, weather kits, and numerous other items. Additionally, wildland fire training courses were also funded.
Dale Hanson, fire chief for the Goodrich Volunteer Fire Department in rural northwestern Minnesota said, “We’re very grateful for the grant money offered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Goodrich is a small town of only 100 residents, but the fire department is responsible for approximately 10 townships. Some of the money is used to send new volunteers to training, and purchase the proper safety equipment to assist with wildland fires.”
In 2008, RFDs, working in cooperation with area national wildlife refuges, were awarded $301,000 in RFA Grants. Minnesota received the highest amount of any state.
2008 Midwest Region RFA Grants By State
WI $ 70,000
For further information on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge System in the Midwest Region, please visit our website at http://fws.gov/midwest or for the National Wildlife Refuge System main internet site visit http://www.fws.gov/refuges/. For information on special scheduled refuge events across the country go to the refuge web page and click on special events.