Volunteer Firefighters in Montana receive grant money - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Volunteer Firefighters in Montana receive grant money

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Montana has seen it's fair share of wildfires this summer. Oftentimes, when wildfires start spreading it's volunteers who are battling the blaze.

To help with fire-fighting costs, the volunteer fire assistance program has awarded $7,000 to Yellowstone County Volunteer Fire Departments.

"I think when it splits all down, $777 per department when you figure it all out," Lance Taylor, Worden's Fire Chief said. 

States are split into regions and each region can request money.

Montana's region was received just over $1-million.

Montana requested $827,000  and was awarded $303,000. The allotment is just over $60,000 less than what the state received in 2016.

Part of the grant formula is based on the number of wildfire's reported.

In 2016, the DNRC estimates volunteer fire departments responded to between 3 and 4,000 wild fires. But of those fires worked, volunteer fire departments reported just 1,309 fires, or roughly 1-third of the fires worked.

Taylor said his department reports their fires and he understands the importance of doing so.

"Every vegetation fire is reported to the DNRC," Taylor said. "And that helps with the numbers you see there but it also helps us this time of ear, it helps us get our equipment."

It costs around $700 to give each volunteer a full outfit, and that's not including an air tank, and other equipment. Air tanks alone range from 6 to 7,000 each. 

"To outfit a firefighter from head to toe with an SCVA on his back, you'd be pushing $10,000," Taylor said.

Although the $7,000 grant split between an entire county doesn't seem like much, Taylor said every little bit helps.

"We requested headlamps for our wild land helmets," Taylor said. "Most of the guys around here don't have headlamps so that was one of the priorities."

Applying for grants is one way Taylor said he helps his department get equipment, but he said re's always needs.

"There's always needs. I mean, we're always short on shirts, wild land helmets, boots, pants and that's just on the wild land side." 

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