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Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA)

Receive up to $5,000 to enhance (wildland) firefighting capacity

South Carolina Forestry Commission officials make a check presentation at a fire department that took advantage of the USDA Forest Service’s VFA grant program.

The South Carolina Forestry Commission administers the USDA Forest Service’s Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) grants program. The VFA program offers 50/50 matching-fund grants to local fire departments that want to increase their firefighting capacity, especially for those departments serving communities in the wildland-urban interface (WUI). Fire departments serving rural communities with a population of 10,000 or fewer residents are eligible for VFA grants.

The intent of the VFA grant is to help the rural volunteer fire departments meet the wildland-urban interface (WUI) challenge in South Carolina. Through financial assistance in purchasing wildland firefighting equipment and making necessary training available, rural volunteer fire departments can more effectively and safely assist the Forestry Commission in dealing with wildland fires that threaten the rural developments and communities they serve.

Priority is given to departments that are:

  • applying for the first time;
  • purchasing a skid (slip-in) unit for a brush truck;
  • purchasing wildland personal protective equipment (PPE: Nomex shirts, Nomex pants, Nomex coveralls, etc.);
  • purchasing VHF radios (UHF / not 800);
  • installing and maintaining dry hydrants;
  • needing to purchase equipment to outfit their federal excess equipment loaned or provided by the South Carolina Forestry Commission.

How to apply

Additional resources


How to Request Reimbursement for VFA Fire Protection Grants

The S. C. Forestry Commission has received authorization to distribute matching federal funds to fire departments in South Carolina under the Volunteer Fire Assistance Program through the USDA Forest Service’s National Fire Plan.

The VFA Grants are for purchasing equipment and supplies to meet your structural or wildland firefighting needs. Receipts for equipment purchased must match the equipment requested in your initial grant application.

The Fire Department’s match can be direct expenditures for the purchase of supplies and equipment. The match can also be costs incurred by the department for wildland fire training or time spent on refurbishing or fabricating equipment (i.e. a brush truck). In either case, time spent by volunteer firemen to refurbish a brush truck or attend wildland fire training must be documented.

A checklist and all the forms needed for reimbursement are listed below. Your chairman, mayor, county administrator or other responsible official must complete and sign these forms to receive the reimbursement. Paid invoices must show the check number by which payment was made. Funded Fire Departments will be reimbursed one half of the amount of invoices submitted, but no more than the amount initially funded.

The CFDA # for this VFA grant is 10.664 and the FAIN number is 15-DG-11083145-001. Keep these numbers for auditing purposes.

For more information, please contact VFA Grant Coordinator Leslie Woodham at lwoodham@scfc.gov or (803) 896-8809.