DNR awards grants to local rural and volunteer fire departments

February 1, 2024

Indiana DNR allocates over $454,000 in fire assistance grants

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced the allocation of more than $454,000 in Volunteer Fire Assistance grants.

This funding will benefit 101 rural and volunteer fire departments across 58 counties.

The grants are aimed at enhancing the capabilities of these departments in managing and combating wildland fires.

DNR officials stated that the funds are designated for training purposes or for purchasing essential firefighting equipment and gear.

This move underscores the department’s commitment to bolstering fire safety measures in rural areas.

Details of grant distribution

The distribution of funds is both diverse and strategic, covering various needs and counties.

Notably, the Osolo Township Volunteer Fire Department in Elkhart County is set to receive $4,750, specifically for water handling.

Similarly, the Aubbeenaubbee Township Fire Department in Fulton County will benefit from a grant of $4,956.50, also for water handling purposes.

In LaGrange County, both the LaGrange and Mongo Volunteer Fire Departments (VFDs) have been allocated funds for communications, receiving $2,499.50 and $5,000 respectively.

The focus on communications equipment underscores the importance of efficient and reliable information exchange during firefighting operations.

Further, the Argos VFD in Marshall County and the Monterey VFD in Pulaski County will each receive $5,000.

These funds are earmarked for general safety, a broad category that encompasses various aspects of firefighting and emergency response.

The San Pierre Township VFD in Starke County is also set to receive $5,000, with the focus on communication improvements.

In St. Joseph County, two departments are receiving grants.

The Walkerton-Lincoln Fire Territory and Liberty Township Fire will each get $5,000, aimed at enhancing general safety and water handling, respectively.

Administration and selection criteria of grants

The DNR Division of Forestry, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, will administer these grants.

Officials from the DNR highlighted that the selection of winning departments was based on several criteria.

These include population density, the acreage of public lands protected, and the history of wildland fire reporting to the DNR Fire Control Headquarters.

Special consideration was given to projects with a direct impact on combating wildfires.

FSJA Comment

The recent allocation of Volunteer Fire Assistance grants by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources marks a significant step in enhancing rural and volunteer fire departments’ preparedness and response capabilities.

By focusing on areas such as communication, water handling, and general safety, these grants address key aspects of firefighting and emergency management.

The strategic distribution of funds across various counties demonstrates a concerted effort to strengthen fire safety measures in regions more susceptible to wildland fires.

This initiative reflects a broader commitment to community safety and natural resource protection.

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