By Tammy Moore Teague
Two local rural volunteer fire departments will receive wildfire suppression kits this year. Both departments, Northwest Scott and Sugarloaf-Slaytonville, will receive the kits containing lightweight wildfire-resistant personal protective equipment, hand rakes, back-pack water pumps, and leaf blowers.
In a press release from Arkansas Agriculture Department’s Forestry Commission (AFC), “The rural fire program received $200,000 from the United States Forest Service to purchase and distribute 67 wildfire suppression kits to statewide volunteer fire departments in 2018.”
Volunteer fire departments partner up with AFC crews in the event of a wildfire. Often these rural departments do not have the necessary gear to assist in these events, so programs like this are beneficial to both the department and also to Forestry crews.
Any volunteer fire department who is interested in participating in the wildfire suppression kit program can submit applications. Those applications are “scored according to specific criteria, including fire district population, the size of the response area, wildfire equipment response needs and other factors.”
The application period for the 2019 program starts in September. You can contact Kathryn Mahan-Hooten by email at Kathryn.Mahan@agriculture.arkansas.gov and call 501-679-3183 for questions or to be added to the Rural Fire Program email distribution list.