BOSTON (WWLP) – Dozens of nonprofit rural, call, or volunteer fire departments statewide are receiving grants through the Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) Program. 

The funding will help fire departments with training and prevention programs, purchase needed supplies and new equipment to help in forest fire protection across Massachusetts. VFA grants are targeted to municipalities with a population of 10,000 or less and are home to community volunteer fire departments responding to wildfires.

“The VFA Program grants provide rural fire departments with the training and equipment needed to respond to and suppress fires in forests and parks across our state,” said DCR Commissioner Arrigo. “These grants demonstrate the important partnerships between DCR, the U.S. Forest Service, and municipalities and our commitment to preserving our natural resources and ensuring our outdoor spaces are safe for residents and visitors to enjoy as we experience more and more intense heat from the climate crisis.” 

“Local call and volunteer fire departments are critical to the efforts to respond to fire incidents quickly and effectively and to protect residents and stop fires from spreading through forests and open spaces,” said DCR Chief Fire Warden Dave Celino. “I want to commend town chiefs and forest wardens for their invaluable commitment to their communities, and we are proud to support them in this small way.”  

To be eligible for the funding, fire departments must be made up of at least 80 percent call or volunteer firefighters, be a state-recognized fire department, and be National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliant. Communities considered for a VFA grant include high-risk towns adjacent to federal lands, those working in partnership with federal firefighting agencies to respond to wildfires, and those in high-risk areas not associated with federal lands. 

According to the DCR Bureau of Forest Fire Control, there have been 964 wildfires that have burned over 1,590 acres across Massachusetts so far this year. While most of these fires have been kept small due to local fire departments, there have been four fires with well over 100 hundred acres, four residential homes destroyed, and over 50 other structures destroyed or damaged from wildfires.  DCR has also sent two fire crews to Quebec, Canada, and one to Montana to assist in battling the ongoing wildfires

Below is a listing of awardees and amounts given:

  • Adams $2493
  • Ashby $2,500
  • Barre $2,500
  • Berkley $2,075
  • Boxford $2,500
  • Brookfield: $2,500
  • Buckland: $2,500
  • Chilmark: $2,236
  • Clarksburg: $1,376
  • Cummington: $1,995
  • Cuttyhunk: $2,500
  • Essex: $2,500
  • Gill: $2,500
  • Goshen: $1,445
  • Leverett: $2,500
  • Marion: $2,479
  • Montgomery: $1,160
  • New Braintree: $2,500
  • New Marlborough: $2,145
  • North Brookfield: $1,125
  • Oak Bluffs: $2,420
  • Onset: $2,011
  • Pelham: $1,813
  • Peru: $2,500
  • Plainfield: $1,951
  • Rutland: $2,500
  • Shelburne Falls Fire District: $2,500
  • Shelburne Fire District: $2,000
  • Sherborn: $2,500
  • South Deerfield: $2,500
  • Sunderland: $1,434
  • Sutton: $2,337.50
  • Tisbury: $2,500
  • Topsfield: $2,376
  • Townsend: $2,500
  • Upton: $2,500
  • Warren: $2,450
  • West Barnstable: $2,439
  • Williamsburg: $1,593
  • Windsor: $2,431

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