National Park Service Distributes Federal Funding To Local Fire Depts.
Rocky Mountain National Park staff distributed $27,544 in 2008, to assist four local volunteer fire departments. Allenspark Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) received $9,700, Estes Park VFD received $9,028, Glen Haven VFD received $5,000, and Grand Lake VFD was awarded $3,816 in funding. Since 2001, Rocky Mountain National Park staff have distributed over $198,000 in grant funding to local volunteer fire departments through the Rural Fire Assistance Program.
“We are extremely pleased to be able to support our local volunteer fire departments,” said Mike Lewelling, Fire Management Officer for the park. “They are often the first line of defense in the wildland-urban interface. This funding will help purchase essential safety equipment and fill critical training needs – a win-win situation for the park and adjacent communities.”
As part of the National Fire Plan, the Rural Fire Assistance (RFA) program is designed to increase firefighter safety and enhance the fire protection capabilities of rural fire departments that assist park fire crews with suppression duties. RFA is intended to increase local firefighter safety and enhance the fire protection capabilities of rural fire departments by helping departments meet accepted standards of wildland fire qualifications, training, and performance for initial and extended attack at the local level. Fire departments may use the funding to conduct training and purchase wildland fire equipment and supplies.
The Rural Fire Assistance program is operated on a cost-share basis. Fire departments serving a community with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants are eligible for funding and must contribute a 10 percent share of the grant total, including in-kind labor.