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    Point Reyes

    National Seashore California

Rural Fire Assistance Grants Increase Safety for Volunteer Firefighters Near National Parklands in Marin County

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Date: August 29, 2005
Contact: Jennifer Chapman, 415-464-5133

The National Park Service announced today that four fire departments in Marin County have received grants for Rural Fire Assistance (RFA) in conjunction with the National Fire Plan. The RFA grant program provides funding to rural and volunteer fire departments for training, equipment, and fire prevention activities, to support fire departments involved in wildland firefighting near or on Department of the Interior lands.

Inverness Fire Department received $6,300 for waist belts to hold fire shelters, fire packs, shoulder harnesses, water bladder bags, and fire training videos and CD-ROMs. Bolinas Fire Protection District received $2,600 for a hedger, a pole saw, and hose clamps. Nicasio Volunteer Fire Department received $5,000 for fire packs, hydration packs, pumps and tools; and Muir Beach Volunteer Fire Department received $2,000 for wildland fire hose, helmets, fire resistant pants and jackets, goggles, and headlamps.

The Inverness Fire Department, part of the Inverness Public Utility District, currently has 16 volunteer firefighters. Kaaren Gann, General Manager for IPUD commented, "The videos can be signed out and watched at home. It helps to have training videos because everyone can’t make it to all the drills."

Anita Brown, Chief of Bolinas Fire Protection District, says the hedger and pole saw will be used to remove low hanging branches and encroaching brush along roadsides. "We need to open up the narrow roads on the mesa so we can get our fire engines through," says Brown. Bolinas currently has 19 volunteer firefighters.

The Nicasio Volunteer Fire Department, will replace worn out equipment, says Chief Joe Runyon, who adds, "We are very grateful for this program." Nicasio has 12 volunteer firefighters.

The Department of the Interior Rural Fire Assistance Program is an important component of the National Fire Plan, which assists rural fire departments in meeting basic needs for equipment, training, and fire prevention activities on a cost-share basis. The RFA program was initiated to improve local fire protection capacity in rural areas which often rely heavily on volunteer firefighting forces. The safety of both rural and cooperating federal firefighters is enhanced when local departments are fully equipped with the proper personal protective equipment and essential tools for wildland firefighting.

To be eligible, a fire department must have an existing mutual aid agreement with a Department of Interior Agency and serve a community of less than 10,000 people near federal lands. Annual awards are limited to a maximum of $20,000 per fire department, and each department must provide a matching cost share of at least 10%, which can include in-kind services. Department of Interior agencies participating in the RFA program include the National Park Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

For more information on the National Fire Plan, please visit www.fireplan.gov. Information on the fire management programs at Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate NRA can be found at www.nps.gov/pore/fire and www.nps.gov/goga/fire.

-NPS-

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