The Delaware Forest Service awarded $22,000 in grants to eight volunteer fire companies to purchase equipment to fight wildfires and improve their wildfire readiness and capabilities.

The Delaware Forest Service awarded $22,000 in grants to eight volunteer fire companies to purchase equipment to fight wildfires and improve their wildfire readiness and capabilities.

—Aetna Hose, Hook, & Ladder Co. No. 7, 8, 9 and 10 received $3,452 with a $4,500 matching grant

—Felton Community Fire Co. No. 48 received $2,250 and a $2,259 match

—Leipsic Volunteer Fire Co. No. 53 received $1,938 and a $3,876 match

—Volunteer Hose Co. No.27 received $4,500 and a $4,500 match

—Talleyville Volunteer Fire Co. No. 25 received $3,747 and a $7,495 match

—Greenwood Fire Company No.78 received $1,504 and a $3,008 match

—Laurel Fire Department No.81 received $1,628 and a $4,778 match

—Mill Creek Fire Co. No. 2 and 21 received $2,980 and a $5,031 match

In the past 10 years, the DFS has provided 122 grants totaling more than $288,000 to many of Delaware’s 60 volunteer fire companies through its Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant Program, funded by the U.S. Forest Service.

The matching grant program represents a cost-effective use of limited federal funds. While applicants must offer a minimum of 50 percent in cost-share match for its request, many provide much more, which resulted in every federal dollar being matched with $1.61 in spending from the recipient.

Funds can be used to purchase items such as Nomex, the lightweight fire-resistant clothing used by wildland firefighters, two-way radios, hoses, drip torches, flashlights, pumps, hoses, gloves, boots or chainsaws.

The 60 Delaware volunteer fire companies provide much of the manpower and equipment to fight wildfires in the state. Many members of Delaware’s wildland fire crew who help battle blazes in the western U.S. are drawn from the ranks of local volunteer fire companies.

In the past fiscal year, the Delaware Forest Service assisted 43 of Delaware’s 60 volunteer fire companies either through wildfire suppression, loaning of equipment or training. In addition to the fire assistance grants, the Delaware Forest Service also provides funding to help provide basic wildland firefighting courses for volunteer firefighters. This year, $12,000 was spent in association with the Delaware State Fire School to help offset the costs of basic training courses for a total of 138 wildland firefighters.