Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) Program

Learn about financial assistance available for volunteer fire departments.

New for 2021:  All applicants must register as vendors in COMMBUYS to be apply.  See COMMBUYS Registration link.

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.  Please follow these guidelines to ensure your application is processed correctly, completely and in a timely manner.


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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]

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 $3,000.00 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 $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
  • 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 where at least 25% of funding is used for training.


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A well thought out and budget wise submission will help us award as many towns as possible.  To apply for the 2021 VFA Grant, please email your completed application to alex.belote@mass.gov and also send the all wet signature originals to:

Attn: Program Coordinator Alex Belote, DCR Bureau of Forest Fire Control, 1048 North Road, Westfield, Massachusetts 01085 on or before January 14, 2022.

Each submission must include the following completed and signed documents:

  • VFA Application
  • VFA Standard Contract
  • A-133 Part B form
  • Contractor Authorized Signatory Listing

All forms can be found below.  More details can be found in the cover letter.

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