HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — On Monday, it was announced that $883,143 in grants were awarded to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities increase protection from wildfires.

“Ensuring we have well-equipped and highly trained wildfire fighters is key in protecting our forests and wilds from wildfires, whether they are human-caused or naturally occurring,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “The best way we can show our gratitude to those who help fight brush and forest fires across the commonwealth is to practice fire safety in all situations, especially in October and November when wildfires are most common in Pennsylvania.”

Both Dunn and the state Fire commissioner Thomas Cook thanked volunteer fire companies for their service when it comes to preventing or battling wildfires.

“Each year, a variety of factors like drying vegetation, fewer natural windbreaks, and now, scarce rain, come together to compound fire risks during wildfire season,” Cook said. “It’s easy to forget that the men and women that respond to these incidents are our neighbors, family members, and friends, and largely part of the same volunteer fire service that the commonwealth depends upon every day. Grant programs like these are essential financial pipelines, providing firefighters with the mission-critical training, equipment, and supplies needed to safely and successfully complete their missions.”

The grants are awarded on a cost-share basis, with the maximum grant awarded being $12,500. A priority was placed on projects that included the purchase of wildfire suppression equipment and protective clothing.

In 2022, more than $762,000 was awarded to 122 volunteer fire companies.

The grant program, offered through DCNR and paid through federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, has awarded nearly $16 million since it began in 1982.

You can read the full list of recipients by clicking here. Over 10 fire companies from the Midstate received grants.