Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley appeals to citizens about the serious drought situation in the state after touring the site of a recent wildfire in Walker County, near Dora, Ala., Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. He joined Interim State Forester Gary Cole and Assistant State Forester Dan Jackson in urging residents to obey the Drought Emergency Declaration, often called a "No Burn Order," that he signed earlier this month. Since October 1, 2016, 987 wildfires have destroyed more than 10,730 acres in Alabama, more than four times the amount that occurred during the same time period in 2015. (Governor's Office, Jamie Martin)

Governor Bentley Awards Over $67,000 in Wildfire Response Grants to Volunteer Fire Departments

MONTGOMERY – Governor Robert Bentley on Friday announced $67,762 is being awarded to Volunteer Fire Departments (VFDs) that qualified for the Wildfire Response Grant (WRG). In December, Governor Bentley announced that up to $100,000 would be available for reimbursements to departments for costs incurred during the response to wildfires across the state during the fall of 2016.

“Last fall I saw first-hand the impact of extreme drought conditions, resulting in Volunteer Fire Departments spending countless hours working together to de-escalate the fires that plagued the state of Alabama,” Governor Bentley said. “I am pleased to award 40 volunteer fire departments for their tremendous response efforts. I hope that these need-based funds will help to alleviate some of the expenses incurred last year.”

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) partnered with the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) to manage the VFD Wildfire Response Grant program.

“The Alabama Forestry Commission values our partnership with the volunteer fire departments across the state of Alabama,” Interim State Forester Gary Cole said. “Their assistance was especially crucial to our efforts in battling the dangerous wildland fires during the extreme wildfire season of fall 2016. We are pleased that Governor Bentley is providing these VFDs with financial assistance to replenish funds they depleted during that time.”

Grants of up to $2,500 were awarded to a total of 40 volunteer fire departments in 21 counties.

“The efforts of the Alabama Volunteer Fire Departments are vital in protecting lives and property, in the communities throughout the state,” AEMA Director Art Faulkner said. “These grants will help them recover some of the cost they incurred while assisting the Alabama Forestry Commission in fighting the wildfires, as a result of the extreme drought last fall.”

Eligible reimbursable expenses for the grant included expenses for equipment use, repair and replacement; tools, materials and supplies; mobilization and demobilizations activities.