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For Release: Friday, April 29, 2016

DEC Accepting Applications for Volunteer Fire Assistance Grants

Funds Provide Assistance to Rural Fire Departments

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is now accepting applications for federally-funded "Volunteer Fire Assistance" grants, Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. The grants help rural fire departments, like those assisting with fighting the Sam's Point Wildfires in Ulster County, enhance their wildfire fighting capabilities. The deadline for application is May 31.

"As we witnessed firsthand this week with the Sam's Point wildfire, fire departments in rural areas provide vital assistance to our wildfire fighting operations and work diligently in fire protection efforts across New York," Acting Commissioner Seggos said. "Rural fire departments combine resources with state Forest Rangers to fight wildfires that threaten local communities and natural resources, and this grant program helps these communities prepare for the challenge of fighting wildfires."

The Volunteer Fire Assistance grant program is funded by the U.S. Forest Service and administered by DEC. If awarded, fire departments will receive 50/50 matching funds up to the amount of $1,500. Last year, the program provided $1,500 grants to 262 fire departments. DEC received a federal appropriation of $400,000 for 2016.

Only expenses directly related to fire suppression efforts are eligible for funding. These include the purchase of portable pumps, portable backpack pumps, hand tools, hoses, light-weight fireproof clothing (Nomex), hard hats, turnout gear, portable radios, generators and dry hydrants. Expenditures not directly related to firefighting, such as search and rescue, acquisition of land, construction of buildings and facilities, major apparatus purchases and maintenance items are not eligible for funding.

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 less than 10,000 residents; and fire departments in towns with a population of 10,000 or more that meet the requirements listed on the application. Fire departments that receive a grant award must complete all required grant paperwork by October 31, 2016.

For applications or further information about the grant program, contact DEC at (518) 402-8839, or write to NYSDEC, Division of Forest Protection, 625 Broadway 3rd Floor, Albany, NY 12233-2560 or, visit the Volunteer Fire Assistance Grants webpage on DEC's website.

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