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State Grants to Help County Fire Companies Fight Wildfires

by on October 11, 2018 5:00 AM

Six Centre County fire companies have received state grants to help fund training and equipment for fighting brush and forest fires. 

The Department of Conservation and National Resources funding announced this week is meant to help rural communities guard against  wildfires in state forests and other undeveloped areas. 

Centre County companies receiving the grants are:

- Citizens Hook & Ladder Co. No. 1 (Milesburg), $2,202

- Gregg Township Fire Co. No. 1, $810

- Miles Township Fire Co.,  $7,500

- Pleasant Gap Fire Co. No. 1, $10,000

- Reliance Volunteer Fire Co. (Philipsburg), $3,248

- Walker Township Volunteer Fire Co., $1,550

“I’m happy to announce this funding because it will play a large role in helping these men and women better combat fires in our district,” said state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Rush Towship. “These firefighters are volunteers – they don’t have to be here. But they choose to answer the call every day to protect our residents and region. I’m glad to see they’re receiving credit and funding where it’s due.”

Grants may be used for purchasing mobile or portable radios, installing water supply equipment, wildfire prevention and mitigation work, training wildfire fighters, or converting and maintaining federal excess vehicles.

“These grants will help our local firefighters protect homes and businesses from brush and wild fires,” said Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Lock Haven. “These brave men and women provide a critical service to our communities and I am proud to support them.”

Grant recipients supply matching funds. The maximum grant awarded for 2018 was $10,000.

A total of $646,891 was awarded to 132 volunteer fire companies statewide for 2018.

“Across the state, these funds will benefit 132 volunteer fire companies serving rural areas and communities where forest and brush fires are common,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said in a release. “To appreciate the value of well-equipped and highly trained wildfire fighters, one only has to look outside Pennsylvania to the horrific fires that sometimes plague other states.”

Though Centre County had its rainiest summer on record, brush and forest fires were a problem in the spring when weather was dry and windy. Crews from Centre, Clinton and Clearfield counties, along with DCNR, spent days battling a 700-acre fire in May in Burnside Township. Firefighters also were called to brush fires around the county.

Hanna also reminded local fire companies that the grant application period has begun for the 2018-19 Fire Company, Emergency Medical Services Companies Grant Program from the Office of the State Fire Commissioner.

“I know the challenges our volunteer firefighting organizations face,” Hanna said. “That is why I want to make sure they are aware of this important state program, because it is essential that we help ensure that they are well equipped and prepared to take on any emergency.”

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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