MOLLIE S. WATERS/THE GREENVILLE STANDARD
The recent drought-like conditions covering the state of Alabama resulted in many wildfires that had to be extinguished through the actions and monies of local volunteer fire departments (VFD).
In an effort to alleviate the costs incurred during their service, some VFDs may benefit from a newly organized grant.
On Wednesday, Governor Robert Bentley announced a grant benefiting eligible VFDs across the state that assisted in recent wildfire related calls.
“I really appreciate the dedication and sacrifice of the men and women who worked with their local Volunteer Fire Departments to protect their communities during the state’s extreme drought,” Governor Bentley said. “I have been made aware of some of the expenses the volunteer fire departments incurred battling numerous fires, in such a short period of time, and I am hopeful the $2,500 grant will help them address some of the VFD’s expenses.”
According to the Alabama Forestry Commission, as of Dec. 2, the number of documented wildfires in the state for the year was reported at 3,644. Of those, 2,219 had been reported since Oct. 1 alone. This year, nearly 50,000 acres of land in the state have been consumed in wildfires.
According to a press release from the State of Alabama’s Emergency Management Agency (AEMA), “Grants will be awarded to reimburse departments for cost incurred during the response to wildfires across the state starting Oct. 1, 2016. A total of $100,000 is available and grants up to $2,500 will be awarded based on financial need and departmental budget make-up.”
The press release goes on to explain that individual VFDs must apply for the grant. Those applying will need to provide information and documentation, such as receipts, on how and when they assisted in wildfire related calls.
Items eligible for reimbursement include equipment use, repair and replacement; tool, materials and supplies; mobilization and demobilizations activities.
Timeline for the applications is Jan. 5 for applications to be submitted to county emergency management agencies and Jan. 12 for applications to be forwarded from the county level to the AEMA. Anticipated award date for the grants is Feb. 13.
VFDs interested in applying for the grant should contact the AEMA Director of Administrative Operations La’Tonya B. Stephens at [email protected] or call 205-280-2433 for additional information.