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 submission period for the 2023 VFA Grant has closed. 

  • VFA Grant Project Start Date will be July 1st, 2024.  Grant Notifications and executed contracts will be sent to towns prior to this date.
  • All projects and purchases must be completed by 5/31/2025.
  • Payment Request for Reimbursement including invoices & proof of payment must be submitted by 6/30/2025.

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

The State Forester's office will:

  • Select projects on a competitive basis.
  • Provide funding for selected 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 $3,000.00 per grant. 

This is a reimbursable payment.  The fire department funds 100% of the grant project and they will be reimbursed 50% of the approved award amount or up to $3,000.  For example:  

  • a 6,000 project will be reimbursed $3,000.
  • a $8,000 project will be reimbursed $3,000.
  • a $2,000 project will be reimbursed $1,000.


The submission period for the 2023 VFA Grant has ended. 


The deadline for the 2023 VFA Grant was 11:59pm EST on December 15, 2023.

If you would like to start planning for the 2024 VFA Grant, please view the details of the submission package below:

A well thought out and budget wise submission will help us award as many towns as possible. Thorough descriptions of areas or situations in your town which places your community at elevated wildland fire risk, and narratives of the benefits of the proposal will make your application more competitive.

Each submission must include the following completed and signed documents:

  • VFA Application
  • VFA Standard Contract
  • A-133 Part B form
  • Contractor Authorized Signatory Listing
  • AD-1048 Certification Regarding Debarment

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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