Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) Program

Learn about financial assistance available for volunteer fire departments.

Through the USDA Forest Service's VFA program, the Bureau is enabled to issue grants and materials to towns with less than 10,000 population. This program provides technical, financial and other assistance to fire departments for forest fire related purposes. Small towns have been the recipients of training, Class A foam, personal protective gear, forestry tools, and other fire suppression equipment.


In a collaborative effort between the U.S. Forest Service and Massachusetts DCR Bureau of Forest Fire Control and Forestry, we once again offer an opportunity for rural fire departments to apply competitive funding through the Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant (VFA).  The DCR strives to distribute these limited funds fairly and equitably throughout the eligible Call/Volunteer fire service in Massachusetts. 

The second round of the 2022 VFA Grant application period is now open.

The submission deadline for the 2022 VFA Grant is January 13, 2023.

All projects and purchases must be completed by May 31, 2024.

  • Submissions that were received during the first-round solicitation (which ended 12/23/22) will be given priority.   
  • VFA Grant Project Start Date will be identified on the DCR Grant Notification and on the executed standard contract.
  • All projects and purchases must be completed by 5/31/2024.
  • Payment Request for Reimbursement including invoices & proof of payment must be submitted by 6/30/2024.

Additional Resources

Eligible Applicants

Requirements for Fire Department VFA eligibility per Federal Guidelines:

  • a population of less than 10,000
  • be 80% or more call or volunteer
  • be recognized as a fire department by the state
  • be NIMS (National Incident Management System compliant  [Incident Command, Multi-Agency Coordination and Public Information Systems]

*All applicants must be registered as vendors in COMMBUYS to apply. To find out if you are registered you can email OSD Help Desk at OSDHELPDESK@MASS.GOV or call them during normal business hours (8am - 5pm ET Monday – Friday) at 1-888-627-8283.

If your town or fire district is not registered, use the CommBuys Vendor Registration Job Aide.


Additional Resources

Selection and Funding Process

In selecting projects the State Forester's office will:

  • Provide funding for projects involving training, prevention and equipment purchases.  Projects may be for firefighter safety, technology transfer and rural fire defense.  Medical and rescue purchases will not be eligible.
  • Approve a cost-sharing rate of 50% not to exceed $2,500.00 per grant.  This is a reimbursable payment or the fire department funds 100% of the grant project and they will be reimbursed 50% of the approved award amount or up to $2,500.  For example:  
    • a $5,000 project will be reimbursed $2,500
    • a $8,000 project will be reimbursed $2,500
    • a $2,000 project will be reimbursed $1,000
  • Determine that matching funds are available from the applicant.
  • On a sliding scale, priority will be given to Departments who have not received recent VFA funding.

Priority will be given to projects submitted during the first-round solicitation which ended on December 23, 2022. 

Priority will be given to projects where at least 25% of funding is used for training.


The submission deadline for the 2022 VFA Grant is January 13, 2023.  A well thought out and budget wise submission will help us award as many towns as possible.  To apply for the 2022 VFA Grant, please email your completed application and required forms to alex.belote@mass.gov or mail hard copies to: 

New Address: Program Coordinator Alex Belote, DCR Bureau of Forest Fire Control, P.O. Box 66, South Carver, MA 02366

Each submission must include the following completed and signed documents:

All forms can be found below or found on COMMBUYS - Bid SolicitationMore details can be found in the cover letter.

Additional Resources

Contact for Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) Program


DCR Bureau of Forest Fire Control and Forestry
State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza | Suite 6620 , Boston, MA 02116

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