NEW YORK (WWTI) — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting applications for Volunteer Fire Assistance grant funding, according to a press release from the organization.

DEC says nearly $640,000 in funding is available to help rural fire departments protect public safety and natural resources. The deadline for applications is Nov. 15.

The grant program is funded by the U.S. Forest Service and administered by DEC Forest Rangers. Eligible fire departments will receive 50/50 matching funds up to $1500 each. DEC says the program provided $1,500 grants to 412 fire departments last year.

“DEC’s Forest Rangers work closely with volunteer fire departments to battle wildfires, and this grant program is a great way to help fire personnel across the state,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “These grants bolster local capacity to fight wildland fires, protecting property and communities.”

Funding is only available for expenses directly related to wildfire suppression efforts; the purchase of portable pumps, portable backpack pumps, hand tools, hoses, approved lightweight fire-resistant clothing, hard hats, turnout gear, portable radios, generators and dry hydrants.

Funding is not available for expenses unrelated to firefighting; search and rescue, acquisition of land, construction of buildings and facilities, major apparatus purchases and maintenance items.

Eligible fire departments include:

  • Those that serve a single town with a population under 10,000;
  • Those that serve multiple communities, one of which is a rural town of fewer than 10,000 residents; and
  • Fire departments in towns with a population of 10,000 or more that meet the application requirements.

Applications and additional information about the program are available on the DEC’s website, by calling 518-402-8839 and by writing to NYS DEC at the following address:

Division of Forest Protection
625 Broadway, 3rd Floor
Albany, NY 12233-2560