LITTLE ROCK – The Rural Fire Protection program, managed by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division, received $294,442.24 to purchase and distribute 96 Wildfire Suppression Kits to rural volunteer fire departments. The money was awarded as part of the Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant from the United States Forest Service.
Volunteer fire departments are the primary partner of Forestry Division crews in wildfire response and suppression, but they are often in need of the specialized equipment and gear necessary for safe wildfire suppression. The equipment distributed this year in the Wildfire Suppression Kits included lightweight wildfire-resistant coveralls and gloves, hand rakes, back-pack water pumps, and leaf blowers. Since 2014, more than 490 volunteer fire departments have received Wildfire Suppression Kits through the Rural Fire Protection program valued at $1,499,411.34.
Any volunteer fire department interested in participating in the Wildfire Suppression Kit program must submit an application, which is then scored according to specific criteria including fire district population, the size of the response area, wildfire equipment response needs, and other factors. The next application period for the Wildfire Suppression Kit program is expected to begin August 2021.
Fire Departments should receive an application by mail, or they can be found at www.agriculture.arkansas.gov/forestry/rural-fire-protection-program/ when the application period opens. Fire Departments may contact Kathryn Mahan-Hooten at firstname.lastname@example.org or (501) 679-3183 with questions regarding the application.
Fire departments receiving kits in 2021 are listed below by fire department and county.
Cove Creek Pearson/Cleburne
Oak Hill/Little River