Volunteer fire assistance grants

Available only to Minnesota fire departments.

General information: The Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant Program is a matching grant program. It provides financial and technical assistance to Minnesota fire departments in cities or communities with a population under 10,000. The program's primary objectives are saving lives and protecting property in rural areas.

Congressionally appropriated VFA funds are provided to the State forestry agencies through the USDA Forest Service. The State forestry agencies pass this money on to needful fire departments within their states.

Level of assistance: Approximately 220 to 250 grants from $1,000 to $5,000 are awarded in Minnesota annually. The grants are made on a 50:50 match basis. Rural fire departments must use the grant money for fire protection and comply with existing state and county rural fire protection plans.

Priorities: Priority is given to fire departments with the greatest need and participating in a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) or a county all-hazard mitigation plan. Additional considerations include the type of project, fire runs and number of previous years funded. Fire departments will not receive funding if MFIRS (MN Fire Incident Reporting System) reports are not annually filed with the State Fire Marshal's office.

Acceptable project examples:

  • establishing a fire department or reorganizing an inactive fire department
  • converting federal excess property vehicles to fire control rigs
  • communications—warning systems (not sirens on buildings), pagers, radios (must be compatible with the counties' 911 system)
  • personal safety equipment (structural and wildland)
  • fire equipment (hose, nozzles, etc.)
  • rural water storage systems

Grants are not allowed for:

  • building repairs or construction
  • urban water systems
  • land acquisitions
  • routine maintenance of fire equipment, such as tires, batteries, tune-ups
  • equipment not fire-related, such as ambulance and water rescue equipment
  • purchase of vehicles, ATVs, UTVs or Trailers
  • sirens
  • used equipment.

How to apply: Grant applications are accepted from eligible Minnesota fire departments from April 1 through July 1 each year. Grant application form. Save a copy of the form for yourself and send a copy to [email protected].

Questions contact:

Shelly Greniger
Rural Fire Programs Specialist
Phone: 218-322-2692

Related DNR Programs
Rural Fire Department assistance

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