Four York County fire companies will receive a combined $17,555 in state grant money to fund rural firefighting operations.
The main purpose of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grants is to better equip and train volunteers in firefighting in unprotected or inadequately protected rural areas.
Across the state, more than $540,000 in grants was awarded to 141 volunteer fire departments that serve rural areas where forest and brush fires are common, DCNR Secretary Richard Allan announced Monday.
"One only has to look to the West earlier this summer to the horrific fires in Colorado to appreciate the value of having well-equipped and highly trained wildfire fighters," he said.
Locally: The four York County fire companies awarded funding are:
---Porters Community Fire Co. in Heidelberg Township: $2,250
---Southern York County Forest Fire Crew Inc. in Glen Rock: $2,100
---Susquehanna Fire Co. in York Haven: $5,705
---Wellsville Volunteer Fire Co. in Wellsville: $7,500
The maximum grant a company could receive is $7,500, and companies must match the funds each received.
Huge help: With an annual operating budget of just $3,000 that is covered by fundraising and donations but not tax dollars, Corey Greene, special assistant warden with Southern York County Forest Fire Crew, said the grant money is huge for the company.
"Anything else like this is additional," he said. "It's a bonus."
The company will use the money to buy new tires for its 1984 brush truck, a pump for a 60-gallon water tank on the all-terrain vehicle and protective gear for firefighters, Greene said.
The last time the company was awarded this grant was in 2005. It responds to 20 to 30 calls a year.
Funding: Grant recipients were selected based on vulnerability and adequacy of existing fire protection. Officials placed priority on applications seeking funds for projects that included purchasing wildfire-suppression equipment and protective clothing.
Grants were also awarded for mobile or portable radios, water supply installations, and to convert and maintain federal excess vehicles the bureau receives and uses for fire suppression.
Funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided the grant program's Forest Service.
-- Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.