The Rural Fire Program, managed by the Arkansas Agriculture Department’s Forestry Commission (AFC), received $237,000 from the United States Forest Service for 79 Wildfire Suppression Kits. Equipment was given to statewide volunteer fire departments in 2019, including several in Southeast Arkansas.
Kits feature equipment and gear necessary for the safe suppression of wildfires and will be delivered to selected volunteer fire departments through May, according to a news release.
Fire departments receiving kits in 2019 are listed below by fire department and county: Antioch/White, Appleton/Pope, Ash Flat/Fulton and Sharp, Barton-Lexa/Phillips, Bee Branch/Van Buren, Board Camp/Polk, Bradley/Lafayette, Brinkley/Monroe, Buford/Baxter, Bussey Sharman/Columbia, Butlerville/Lonoke, Butterfield/Crawford, Calico Rock/Izard, Cecil Rural/Franklin,
Center Point/Howard, Center Ridge /Conway, Chickalah/Yell, Chidester/Ouachita, Chimes/Van Buren, Collins-Cominto/Drew, Corning/Clay, Cross Roads/Hempstead, Cross Roads/Prairie, Daisy/Pike, Decatur/Benton, Dierks/Howard, Driggs/Logan, Dumas/Desha, East End/Saline, Elaine/Phillips, Elkins/Washington,
Emerson/Columbia, Enola/Faulkner, Fisher/Poinsett, Fountain Lake/Garland, Hackett /Sebastian, Hardy/Sharp, Hoxie/Lawrence, Huttig/Union, Highway 15 S/Jefferson, Johnsville/Bradley, Joy/White, Lacey-Ladell/Drew, Lamar/Johnson, Luxora/Mississippi,
Lynn/Lawrence, Mammoth Spring/Fulton, Mandeville/Miller, Marvell Rural/Phillips, Maysville/Benton, McRae/White, Mulberry/Crawford, Murfreesboro/Pike, New Blaine/Logan, Norman/Montgomery, Norphlet/Union, Northside/Prairie, Oak Grove Heights/Greene,
Oak Prairie/Prairie, Ouachita/Hot Spring, Oxford/Izard, Pansy/Cleveland, Paron/Saline, Ravenden/Lawrence, Rover/Yell, Selma/Drew, South Phillips/Phillips, Southeast White/White,
Southwest/Hot Spring, Sparkman/Dallas, Swifton/Jackson, Turtle Creek/Saline, Valley/Drew, Watalula/Franklin, Watson/Desha, Williford/Sharp, Woodlawn/Cleveland, Y Community-212/Cleveland and Y City/Scott.
Volunteer fire departments are the primary partner to AFC crews in wildfire response and suppression but often need 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. Kits distributed this year include lightweight wildfire-resistant personal protective equipment, hand rakes, back-pack water pumps, and leaf blowers, according to the release.
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. Details: Kathryn Mahan-Hooten at Kathryn.Mahan@agriculture.arkansas.gov or 501-679-3183.