The Nebraska Forest Service has awarded 109 rural fire districts, including 12 in the Panhandle, $330,000 in direct funding through the 2018 Volunteer Fire Assistance grant program, which will be leveraged to complete $1 million worth of projects around the state.
All the awards are small, ranging between $300 and $4,500 dollars, and are used for requests such as personal protective equipment, prevention, and communication gear.
Fire Program Manager Matt Holte says Nebraska had more wildfires and more departments responding to wildfires this year, leading to the state being awarded an additional $100,000 that was funneled right back into departments across the state.
Chadron, Morrill, and Potter were among the VFDs receiving the maximum $4,500 grants while Scottsbluff and Minatare/Melbeta both got $4,400.
Alliance and Sidney were among those also receiving over $4,000.
Gordon, Hay Springs, Rushville, Bayard and Gering all received grants between $2,000 and $3,000. Banner County received a grant for $750, and the Crawford VFD did not receive funds this year.