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Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) Grant

Grants to California Rural Fire Departments
for Equipment, Training, and Capacity Building

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)

Deadline Date:

05/21/19 11:59 PM Electronic Receipt and Postmarked by Date


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Grants ranging from $500 to $20,000 to California fire departments serving rural communities to increase fire prevention and suppression capacity. Financial assistance will be provided to train, equip, and organize fire departments in order to suppress and prevent fires threatening people and resources.

This assistance is available only to communities with a population under 10,000, however groups of smaller communities (at least one being 10,000 people or less) may join together in a combined effort to service more than 10,000 people. Priority will be given to multi-community projects (serving at least one community under 10,000 people) such as countywide planning, regional coordination groups, and several communities planning protection for an entire rural area.

Funding is intended for communications, equipment-wildland, equipment-structural, safety-wildland, safety-structural, and training. The use of funds for new fire engines and other vehicles are not allowed. However, the cost of the conversion of vehicles obtained through the Federal Excess Personal Property Program (FEPP) to water tenders, engines, brush trucks, and equipment trucks may be funded under the VFA grant program.

Communications, for alarm systems and dispatch capabilities, should be considered an integral part of the rural fire department. Funds are available for the development and purchase of radio equipment for dispatching centers, vehicles and alert monitors, and pagers.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 157339

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Awards for departments are set at a minimum of $500 with a maximum of $20,000.

Term of Contract:

The funds will be only for those projects accomplished and/or items purchased between Agreement Approval Date and June 30, 2020.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Funding for departments must meet at least one of the following qualifications:

1. A single fire department serving a rural area or a rural community with a population of 10,000 or less.

2. Area fire departments (fire districts, townships, etc.) may serve an aggregate population of greater than 10,000 as long as the service area of the fire department includes a rural area or a rural community having a population of 10,000 or less. The VFA funding must be used to benefit the rural population.

3. A single county or town with a population over 10,000 which is served by two or more fire districts operating entirely within the bounds of the county or town may qualify as long as the service area of a given fire department includes a rural area or a rural community or the population of the fire department's jurisdiction is 10,000 or less. The VFA funding must be used for the rural area.

4. A single community with a population greater than 10,000 and having a single fire department with one or more fire stations may qualify. The fire department must have a service area that includes a rural area or community that does not exceed 10,000 population. Also a single community with a population greater than 10,000 which also provides fire protection to an adjoining rural community of 10,000 or less population by contract may also be eligible provided the VFA funding is used entirely to support the rural community.

A single community fire department serving a population greater than 10,000 and not providing protection to a rural area or to a rural community is not eligible for VFA financial assistance.

Requests for construction projects of any type are not fundable.

Requests for HAZMAT, extrication, rescue, medical aid, and other non-fire training costs or materials are not fundable.

Pre-Application Information:

Applications are to be submitted by mail and by e-mail:
- Hard copy must be postmarked by May 21, 2019.
- Electronic copy must be submitted by May 21, 2019 at 11:59pm.

- Awards are provided on a reimbursable basis. Please anticipate payments up to eight weeks after invoices have been submitted, however invoices received towards the end of the State fiscal year, June 30, may have a longer reimbursement date
- Any and all funds paid to local agency shall be matched by local agency on a dollar-for-dollar basis, for each project listed.

Important Dates:
- May 21, 2019: The downloaded fillable application must be completed and submitted to the CAL FIRE GRANTS e-mail inbox by 11:59 PM and a printed signed copy of the downloaded fillable application must be mailed to the CAL FIRE Sacramento Headquarters. Any applications postmarked after this date will not be considered for funding.

- July-August 2019: CAL FIRE anticipates completing the application review process and will notify applicants receiving an award.

- December 1, 2019: Awarded applicants must have completed and submitted their Grant Agreement package to the CAL FIRE Sacramento Headquarters.

- January 31, 2020: CAL FIRE will mail back Grant Agreements with a CAL FIRE signature of approval. Once CAL FIRE approved Grant Agreements are received by awardees funds can be spent.

- June 30, 2020: Awarded applicants must have completed their approved project(s). All invoices with purchase dates after June 30, 2019 will not be reimbursed.

- September 1, 2020: All invoices with proof of purchase must be submitted to the CAL FIRE Sacramento Headquarters for processing and reimbursement.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit the completed application electronically to:

In addition, print the application, sign and date, and mail to:
ATTN: Megan Esfandiary , Grants Management Unit
P.O. Box 944246
Sacramento, CA 94244-2460

The Cooperator Program contact is available for questions concerning allowable purchases:
Doug Ferro, Deputy Chief
Phone: (916) 653-8362
FAX: (916) 653-9708

The Cooperator Administrative contact is available for questions concerning invoices, billings, payments, deadlines, application instructions, agreement instructions, and any other administrative issues:
Megan Esfandiary, Grant Analyst
P: (916) 653-3649
F: (916) 653-8957

Cal Fire Headquarter Contact Information:
Grants Management Unit
Attn: Megan Esfandiary
P.O. Box 944246
Sacramento, CA

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California