The following press release was issued about grants awarded to fire departments in Virginia:

"Through its Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) program, the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) awarded more than $199,000 in grants to 140 volunteer fire departments (VFDs) across the Commonwealth. The grants – ranging in size from $315 to $2,435 – will be used by the VFDs for such purchases as personal protective equipment, communications gear, water tanks for brush trucks, wildland fire specialty tools and training materials.

The VFA program provides vital funding to the many volunteer fire departments that assist us with the suppression of wildfires across the state," said John Miller, director of VDOF's resource protection division. "This money helps VFDs purchase much-needed equipment that provides for the safety of both the public and these volunteer firefighters. I only wish we had enough funding to support all their needs.”

Volunteer fire departments provide VDOF with receipts for their equipment purchases. Under the terms of the grant, VDOF reimburses the volunteer fire departments up to the amount approved for their eligible purchases.

A total of 171 fire departments applied for grants this year, and 140 were approved. The requests for support totaled more than $1.1 million – far more than the $199,942.89 VDOF had available. Since the VFA program began in 1975, the VDOF has awarded more than $3.4 million to volunteer fire departments throughout the Commonwealth. Funding for the grant program is provided by the U.S Forest Service.

Note: A list of VFDs and the amounts of their grants (alphabetically by county) is on the [attached] spreadsheet.

The Virginia Department of Forestry protects and develops healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians. Headquartered in Charlottesville, the Agency has forestry staff members assigned to every county to provide citizen service and public safety protection across the Commonwealth, which it’s been doing now for 100 years. VDOF is an equal opportunity provider.

With nearly 16 million acres of forestland and more than 103,000 Virginians employed in forestry, forest products and related industries, Virginia forests provide an overall economic output of more than $17 Billion annually."