RURAL FIRE ASSISTANCE GRANT PROGRAM (RFA)
US DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR (DOI)/US BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT (BLM)
The Rural Fire Assistance grant program is designed to support the immediate wildland fire needs of rural fire departments and is meant to improve the departments’ capability for initial and extended attack of wildland fires. The grants focus on four primary fire management activities: training, equipping, organizing rural fire departments, and fire prevention.
Deadline to Apply
April 2nd of each year.
1. Applicants must have a statewide agreement with the State Forester who maintains cooperative agreements with the rural fire departments or volunteer fire departments; or, absent that, a cooperative fire agreement with an agency in the DOI.
2. The rural fire department must serve a community with a population of less than 10,000.
3. Applicants may only use funding for basic wildland fire equipment.
4. The local department must have the capability to share a minimum of 10 percent of the total cost. Applicants may include in-kind goods or services as part of the cost-sharing.
5. The local department must serve a community in the “Wildland-Urban Interface,” which is where development occurs near federal land that is vulnerable to wildfire.
Each recipient of the RFA grants must provide a cost share of 10 percent. In-kind goods and services may be included as part of the cost sharing. The general rate of $20.25 per hour shall be applied to staff and volunteer time. All projects must be completed and funds expended within 12 months of the signed agreement. The RFA program will not fund positions, or acquisition of “fixed assets” such as hydrant or sprinkler systems, building construction, alarm systems or other improvements which increase the value of real property; or items such as ATV’s, walkie-talkies, non-P25 compliant radios, boots, vehicle tires, turnout gear for structural firefighting, Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, or non-Nomex PPE.
Use of Funds
Products and services that qualify for funding include:
: Basic Tools/Supplies – shovels, Pulaski axes, hose, nozzles
: New generation fire shelters
: Wildland Safety/Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Nomex apparel, fire shelters, personal line packs
: Communications – RFA funding guidelines only allow acquisition of P-25 compliant, narrowband digital handheld or mobile radios
Funding Potential for Award–Funding varies from year to year.
Range of Awards–The DOI has set a maximum of $20,000 per RFA grant.
Funding Cycle – Duration–Funds are usually allocated by winter of each fiscal year.
Source of Funds–Monies are allocated through the National Fire Plan to the Department of the Interior by Congress.
Per BLM, this program has not been funded in at least three years and is not expected to receive funding in the near future.
How to Apply–Visit www.nmforestry.com to download an application.
Selection Criteria & Decision Authority–A panel of Department of Interior agency representatives convene to review the applications. The Bureau of Land Management considers proximity to BLM land and eligibility factors to determine grant funding.
The RFA grant program was authorized by the 2001 National Fire Plan.
The State of New Mexico has a similar program, the Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) program administered by the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD), Forestry Division. For more information, visit http://www.nmforestry.com.