Home New mexico united Nearly $1 million available for New Mexico fire assistance claimants

Nearly $1 million available for New Mexico fire assistance claimants

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SANTA FE, NM (KRQE) — Applications for the Voluntary Fire Assistance Grant (VFA) program are accepted beginning Monday. Grants are offered to community fire departments assisting 10,000 people or fewer by the Forestry Division of the Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources (REMDR).

The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service provides funds for the program. This year, the program allocated more than $900,000.

What is the grant for?

According to a statement from REMD, the grant can be used to reduce the risk of fire and protect firefighters. The funds are intended to be used to build government capacity to fight wildfires through tools, education and equipment, especially in rural areas.

How has the grant helped before?

In 2022, 24 rural fire departments received more than $358,000 in funds through the program. A secretary from REMDR explained how the program has helped fire departments throughout the fire season of the year.

“We never want to experience another fire season like 2022 again and the VFA grants are essential
rural fire departments to get the equipment and coordination personnel they need
prepared, said Sarah Cottrell Propst, REMND Cabinet Secretary. “These firefighters are
our first line of defense to prevent a catastrophic wildfire from destroying communities and
causing loss of life. They need our support and the VFA grant gives them that.

In 2021, the Lincoln County Fire and Emergency Services used their grant money for seven volunteer fire districts and 13 fire stations. The funds purchased protective gear, tools, GPS technology and radios, said JP Kenmore of Lincoln County Fire and Emergency Services.

How to apply for a grant? Who is eligible?

To be eligible, the applicant must represent more than one fire department serving rural communities of 10,000 people or less. A cost-sharing of 10% of public or local funds must also be provided.

To apply, candidates can download the form on the Forestry Division website. The application deadline is September 30, 2022 at 4:30 p.m. If applicants still have questions after reading this article, Program Coordinator Robert Brown can be contacted at [email protected] or at 505-476-3348.