Burns announces grants to help rural firefighters

Cresson, Jackson Township VFDs to split nearly $11,000

EBENSBURG, Sept. 19 – Cresson Volunteer Fire Co. with $3,900 and Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Co. with $7,036 are two of 142 rural departments in Pennsylvania awarded grants to help guard against fire threats in forests and undeveloped areas, state Rep. Frank Burns announced today.

Burns said the grants come through the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry, with funding supplied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. The money is awarded to volunteer fire departments in rural areas or communities with fewer than 10,000 residents, and the maximum award is $7,500.

“One of the main goals of this program is to help fire departments in areas where forest and brush fires are common,” said Burns, D-Cambria. “That is definitely the case in Jackson Township and Cresson, and I’m glad to have helped firefighters in those areas procure these needed state funds.”

Burns said a key objective of the grant program is to better equip and train volunteers to save lives and protect property in unprotected or inadequately protected rural areas. Grant recipients are selected based on vulnerability and adequacy of existing fire protection, he added.

Aid is granted on a cost-share basis, with recipients supplying matching funds. The Bureau of Forestry will begin accepting 2017 applications online next spring. Burns said any volunteer fire department interested in applying for the next round of funding should contact one of his constituent service offices.