The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forestry - Fire Program, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service - State and Private Forestry, has awarded $224,799 in 50 percent cost-share grants to 92 of Iowa’s rural fire departments to aid their efforts in protecting Iowans and their property from wildfires.

The Cambridge Fire Department is receiving $3,500, as one of the departments to receive funds. The grants are funding assistance for wildfire suppression equipment, personal protective equipment and communications equipment.

The VFA program is authorized by the 1990 Farm Bill to provide financial, technical and other assistance through state forestry agencies to organize, equip and train small, local fire departments in rural communities with populations under 10,000 to prevent and suppress rural fires. Work contributes to healthy forests, forest stewardship and sustainable economic development. VFA dollars may be used to fund multi-community/fire department projects such as mutual-aid communications networks.

The DNR reminds all fire departments of the importance of submitting Wildland Fire Reports whenever they respond to a wildland fire or provide assistance to a prescribed or controlled wildland fire. Wildland Fire reporting forms are available at Departments actively returning these reports receive priority points when the VFA grant applications are scored. These wildland fire reports are compiled locally and nationally and are reported to Congress.