ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10/WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Rural fire departments around New York have a chance to pick up some new assistance funding to help them do what they do. The Department of Environmental Conservation has opened applications for departments in need of new equipment to serve sparse areas.

A total of $976,622 in Volunteer Fire Assistance grant funding is available, with an application deadline of Wednesday, Nov. 15. The money is specifically for fire departments that serve a single-town population of 10,000 – whether exclusively or not. Departments above that size can also qualify if they meet certain application requirements. Recently formed departments and those serving Native American populations can also be eligible.

“When wildfires break out in different parts of the State, DEC’s Forest Rangers are often joined by members of volunteer fire departments,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “This grant program bolsters the local capacity to fight wildland fires, so firefighters can protect their family, friends, and neighbors, and their surrounding communities.”

Funded by the U.S. Forest Service, the grants will match individual departments’ spending up to $2,500. The spending in question must be used for the purchase, of portable pumps, hand tools, fire hoses, fire-resistant clothing, hard hats, turnout gear, radios, generators, and dry hydrants.

The amount of funding offers more help than last year. In 2022, the program offered grants of up to $1,500 to a total of 444 departments across New York. Applications can be found through the DEC online.