The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division is now accepting applications for the Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant for wildfire suppression kits through October 2, 2020. The application can be found here.
Ninety wildfire suppression kits will be awarded this year across the state to rural volunteer fire departments. Nearly 400 kits have been distributed since 2014.
Volunteer Fire Departments are the Forestry Division’s primary partner in wildfire response and suppression. The kits will provide these departments the specialized equipment needed for safe suppression, including up to ten wildfire-resistant coveralls, up to ten pairs of wildland firefighting gloves, two backpack leaf blowers, two collapsible backpack water pumps, and six leaf rakes.
Rural volunteer fire departments interested in applying should submit an application to their District Forester. Applications are scored according to specific criteria to include the population of the fire district, the number of square miles covered, the average number of wildfires a department responds to annually, and other factors. The selected departments will be notified in October, and kits will be delivered in March of 2021 or as soon as supplies are received.
The Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant program is administered by the Forestry Division’s Rural Fire Protection office, with funding provided by the United States Forest Service.