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Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) Grant

Grants to Maine Rural Fire Departments
for Equipment Purchase and Training

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry - Maine Forest Service (MFS) - Forest Protection Division

Deadline Date:

11/15/19 Postmarked or Received


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Grants of up to $5,000 to Maine fire departments serving rural areas or communities for firefighting equipment and training. Funding is intended to help rural fire departments suppress and prevent wildland fire. Eligible fire departments are those that serve populations of less than 10,000.

The purpose of the Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) program, formerly known as the Rural Community Fire Protection (RCFP) program, is to provide Federal financial, technical and other assistance to state foresters and other appropriate officials to organize, train, and equip fire departments in rural areas and rural communities to prevent and suppress fires. 

The following items are eligible: a) wildland fire personal protective equipment, b) pumps and associated equipment used in wildland fire suppression, c) Class A Foam d) equipment for foam application, e) hand or power tools used in wildland fire suppression, f) portable radios and pagers, g) dry hydrants and cisterns (check details about match requirements), h) fire hose used for wildland fire suppression, i) nozzles used for wildland fire suppression, j) other equipment used for wildland fire suppression or pre-suppression.

Priority will be given to wildland fire personal protective equipment, pumps, foam, wildland fire hose, and hand tools.

All projects must demonstrate that equipment will be used in wildland fire suppression.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 175863

Estimated Size of Grant:

The maximum amount of grant funds per applicant is $5,000.

Term of Contract:

Projects must be completed by June 30, 2020. Project extensions may be granted by the Director of the Forest Protection Division for extenuating circumstances.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:


1) A single fire department serving a rural area or a rural community with a population of 10,000 or less is eligible.

2) A single community with a population greater than 10,000 and having a single fire department with one or more fire stations may qualify. The fire department must have a service area that exclusively serves a rural area or community that does not exceed 10,000 population. The VFA funding must be used only for the benefit of that rural population. Similarly a single community with a population greater than 10,000 which also provides fire protection to an adjoining rural community of 10,000 or less population by contract may also be eligible provided the VFA funding is used entirely to support the rural community.

3) A single community fire department serving a population greater than 10,000 and not providing protection to a rural area or to a rural community is not eligible for VFA financial assistance.

4) Fire Departments must be NIMS compliant.

Requests For Funding will not be considered for:
- Any single item costing more than $4,999
- Repair or construction of buildings
- Land acquisition
- Waterlines and hydrants (expect for dry-hydrants with the limitations listed above in Description)
- Rehabilitation of existing dry hydrants
- Vehicles
- Hose over 2 1⁄2” (unless justified in the grant application narrative)
- PTO pumps
- Generators
- Boots
- Any equipment not related to wildland fire suppression or pre-suppression
- Routine operating supplies or expenses
- Base station radios, repeaters, antennas, radio towers, etc.
- Any portable radio, or pager costing more than $500 per unit or any radio which is not narrowband compliant
- Chainsaws costing more than $500 per unit
- More than four portable radios and /or pagers per applicant
- Cellular phones
- Class A foam costing more than $90 for a five gallon pail

Reimbursement money will not be provided for in-kind services.

Pre-Application Information:

The deadline to submit applications is November 15, 2019. Final Selections will be made by December 20, 2019.

August – applications for the upcoming year are made available.
November – deadline for applications.
December – the Maine Forest Service (MFS) and Maine Fire Chiefs Association review the applications and make recommendations for award amounts.
January – Award letters are sent out.

This is a 50/50 matching grant. Grant funds must be matched with an equal amount of local funds ($5,000 grant funds + $5,000 matching funds = $10,000 project). Local contribution for multiple items < $5,000 each may exceed the match requirement, (e.g. $5,000 grant funds + $7,000 local fund = total project costs).

The VFA grant is administered as a reimbursement grant.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Mail applications to:

Maine Forest Service
22 State House Station
18 Elkins Lane
Augusta, ME 04333-0022
Attention: Kent Nelson, Forest Ranger Specialist

Physical address:
18 Elkins Lane
Harlow Building
Augusta, ME 04333

Phone: 207-287-4989
Or: 800-367-0223
Fax: 207-629-0402

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Maine: Rural areas and communities.

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