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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:

11/16/18 Postmarked or Received


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Grants of up to $5,000 to Maine fire departments serving rural areas for firefighting equipment and training. Funding is intended to support department organization, personnel safety, and training programs as well as the purchase of personal protective gear and apparatus used in wildland fire suppression. Eligible communities are those with 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. A rural community is defined as having 10,000 or less population. This 10,000 population limit for participation in the VFA program is meant to ensure the distribution of available VFA funding to fire departments most in need of financial assistance.

Each year, federal funds are appropriated to assist towns with the purchase of forest fire equipment or to provide forest fire training.

The following items or functions are eligible for funding:

- Wildland fire personal protective equipment
- Pumps and associated equipment used in wildland fire suppression
- Class A Foam
- Equipment for foam application
- Hand or power tools used in wildland fire suppression
- Portable radios and pagers
- Dry hydrants and cisterns (please note the match from this grant must be < $1500 per hydrant for organized towns and < $3000 per hydrant for unorganized towns and plantations)
- Hose used for wildland fire suppression
- 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 28, 2019. 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. (View 2010 municipality population at:

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. (NIMS compliance information can be found at: or at

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

Pre-Application Information:

The application deadline is November 16, 2018. Once completed, the application must be mailed to the Maine Forest Service to the attention of Forest Ranger Specialist Kent Nelson. All applications must have been postmarked or received at the Maine Forest Service by that date or they will not be considered. (A note from the US Post Office: A LOT of these applications are coming into Augusta with 52 cents or more postage due. Please make sure you place at least two stamps on these letters.)

The schedule for the VFA program in Maine is as follows:

- 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. Final selections will be made by December 17, 2018.
- January – Award letters are sent out.
- March – Deadline for the signed agreement and assurances forms to be returned to the MFS.
- April / May / June – If paperwork is in order, reimbursements are issued to towns.
- June 30th – Deadline for receipts to be turned in to MFS.

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.

For information, phone the VFA Program Administrator at the Maine Forest Service office. To request an application, or assistance with completing the application, call Kent Nelson, Forest Ranger Specialist.

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