HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Wolf Administration announced Tuesday that it had awarded $762,414 in grants to help Pennsylvania's rural communities increase protection from wildfires.
The event was hosted at the Halifax Fire Department in Dauphin County.
Grants were awarded to qualifying local firefighting forces in rural areas and communities with less than 10,000 people. The grants reportedly enable smaller companies to concentrate more on public safety and training while easing fiscal constraints.
The funding can be used for training purposes and equipment purchases related to fighting brush and forest fires.
"We are grateful to those who help fight brush and forest fires across the commonwealth and are pleased to support these critical efforts to protect our public lands from wildfires," Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Deputy Secretary John Norbeck said.
"Ensuring we have well-equipped and highly trained wildfire fighters is key in protecting our forests and wilds from wildfires, whether they are human-caused and naturally occurring," he continued.
The Halifax Fire Department was awarded a $5,912 grant and the Dauphin Middle Paxton Fire Company was awarded $2,535.
The maximum grant awarded in 2022 was $12,500. Priority for grant funding was placed on projects that include the purchase of wildfire suppression equipment and protective clothing.
"It goes without saying that rain has been scarce this year for many parts of the state, as well as wider regions throughout the country,” McGarvey said. "It’s easy to forget that the men and women that respond to these incidents are our neighbors, family members, and friends, and they come to the fire service with a variety of skill levels and backgrounds."
A complete list of departments receiving grants can be found here.