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The Mountain-Prairie Region


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September 1, 2004                               Contacts: Neal Beetch 303-445-4367
                                                                                   Barb Perkins 303-236-4588 

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE’S MOUNTAIN PRAIRIE REGION announces National fire plan rural fire assistance grant awards 

Denver, CO – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has announced that rural fire departments (RFDs) in the states of Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming received $298,802 in competitive grant awards through the National Fire Plan: 

Colorado                      $  14,906
Kansas                         $  16,397
Montana                       $113,289
Nebraska                     $  20,869
North Dakota               $  73,000
South Dakota              $  43,943
Utah                              $    5,963
Wyoming                      $  10,435

TOTAL           $298,802


The rural fire assistance (RFA) program provides cost-share grants for equipment, training, and fire prevention and mitigation activities for RFDs that protect rural communities and play a substantial cooperative role in the suppression of wildland fires on or near FWS lands.

The FWS is one of four Department of the Interior agencies that participate in the RFA program which began in 2001.  It is administered by the DOI in cooperation with other state and local wildland fire partners. 

Fire departments must meet the following eligibility criteria to apply for a FWS RFA grant:

1.      The fire department must suppress wildland fires on FWS lands.

2.      The fire department must be party to an existing Cooperative Fire Agreement with FWS or their respective State Forester.

3.      The fire department serves a community with a population of 10,000 or less, as derived from the most recent census bureau statistics.  A fire department serving communities with populations over 10,000 may qualify for RFA funding under special circumstances:

·        The service area of the fire department includes a rural area or community with a population of 10,000 or less. RFA funding must be used to benefit the rural service area.

·        Fire departments operate entirely within the boundaries of the county or town of more than 10,000 that is serviced by two or more fire districts. The service area of a given district includes a rural area or community, or the population of the district’s jurisdiction is less than 10,000. The RFA funding is used exclusively for the rural portion of the district.

·        A fire department with at least one station that serves a community of more than 10,000 that also encompasses a rural zone or community with a population not exceeding 10,000. RFA funding must be used to benefit the rural service area.

·        A fire department that serves a community of 10,000 or more that also provides fire protection services through contract or agreement to an adjoining rural community. RFA funding must be used to benefit the rural service area serviced through the contract or agreement. 

Fire departments can apply for RFA grants using the following process: 

1.      Ensure that your RFD meets the eligibility criteria described above.

 2.      Contact your State forestry agency for additional application information and deadlines:

      North Dakota – Mike Santucci, 701-328-9946
South Dakota – Steve Hafenohrl, 605-393-8011
Colorado – Steve Hart, 719-579-5313
Kansas – Call Ross Hauk, 785-532-3300
Nebraska – Don Westover, 402-472-6629
Montana – Michael Wiederhold, 406-542-4206
Utah – Tracy Dunfold, 801-538-5502
Wyoming – Ray Wiedenhaft, 307-777-5842 

3.      Complete the necessary application forms online at as specified by your State forestry agency and/or Neal Beetch 303-445-4367, FWS RFA Coordinator. 

Other assistance programs are available through the U.S. Forest Service, Volunteer Fire Assistance program online at and through the Federal Emergency Management Agency at 

For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Region 6
Fire Program; visit our home page at

 - FWS -



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