Norman VFD among VFDs to receive wildfire suppression kits
NORMAN – Norman Volunteer Fire Department was one of 79 VFDs to receive a wildfire suppression kit distributed through the Arkansas Forestry Commission’s Rural Fire Program.
Norman VFD is the second Montgomery County fire department to receive a wildfire suppression kit. They join Sulfur/Laverna VFD who received their kit last year.
The kits feature equipment and gear necessary for the safe suppression of wildfires and will be delivered to selected volunteer fire departments through May. Kits distributed this year include lightweight wildfire-resistant personal protective equipment, hand rakes, back-pack water pumps, and leaf blowers.
The kits are made possible through the Rural Fire Program, managed by the
Wildfire Suppression Kits Distributed to Volunteer Fire Departments through Arkansas Agriculture Department’s Forestry Commission (AFC) Rural Fire Program. The program purchased the kits after receiving $237,000 from the United States Forest Service.
According to a statement released by the AFC, volunteer fire departments are the primary partner to AFC crews in wildfire response and suppression. However, VFDs are often in need on the specialized equipment and gear necessary for safe wildfire suppression. Since 2014, more than 300 volunteer fire departments have received Wildfire Suppression Kits through the Rural Fire Program.
Other area VFDs receiving the kits include:
Board Camp (Polk County), Center Point (Howard County), Daisy (Pike County), Dierks (Howard County), Murfreesboro (Pike County), Y City (Polk).
Volunteer fire departments interested in participating in the Wildfire Suppression Kit program submit applications that 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 2020 Wildfire Protection Kit program starts in September. Contact Kathryn Mahan-Hooten at Kathryn.Mahan@agriculture.arkansas.gov or (501) 679-3183 with questions or to be added to the Rural Fire Program email distribution list.
Fire departments receiving kits in 2019 are listed below by fire department and county:
Bee Branch/Van Buren
Board Camp /Polk
Center Ridge /Conway
Hwy 15 S/Jefferson
Oak Grove Heights/Greene