Jul 18 2018
As a former volunteer firefighter, maintaining adequate funding for the Volunteer Fire Assistance Program is of particular importance to me.
First responders are pillars of our community, and it’s been a privilege of mine to advocate for them in Congress.
This program provides financial and technical assistance through grants to rural communities of less than 10,000 people that are matched by the community or state on a 50-50 basis. Grant funding from this program can be used to obtain and repair equipment and improve fire protection capabilities.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, there are nearly 30,000 rural fire departments in the United States, and it’s estimated these departments provide roughly 80% of our initial response to wildfires on over 1.5 billion acres of public and private land.
Even more striking is that many of these rural fire departments often rely on volunteers. In fact, 70% of all firefighters are volunteers, over half of whom are found in rural communities.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this amendment to provide these brave men and women the funds they need to adequately combat wildfires and protect our communities and treasured American landscape."