Fire District Assistance Programs

The purpose of fire district assistance programs is to provide local and rural fire districts in  Washington state opportunities to establish, develop, improve, and maintain their wildland firefighting capabilities. Improving the capabilities of local districts helps defend Washington against wildfire.
These programs can make several types of training, equipment, and other assistance more affordable to local fire districts.
NOTE: Programs use available funds and resources which may vary from year to year.

DNR Surplus Engine Program

Applications open for fire districts October 1, 2020

From the 2017 Washington State Legislature, RCW 76.04.135(4) authorizes DNR to transfer ownership of its surplus engines to Washington state fire districts in wildfire-prone areas within counties that have a median income level below the state average. These engines will help local fire districts be better prepared to fight wildfires in their districts. By transferring these resources to fire districts in fire-prone areas, we can, together, reduce initial attack response times to wildfire starts, and thereby, reduce the potential for large, costly and catastrophic fires. 
Fire districts interested in receiving a surplus engine can check back in October for a list of available engines offered this year.
2020 Calendar
  • October 1 - Application process open for districts to apply for surplus engines
  • October 31 - Application window closes and selections are made
DNR will begin to notify districts of the results as soon as November 15, 2020.
NOTE: All surplus fire engines are offered “AS IS.” DNR makes no warranty of condition or operability. Fire districts are encouraged to complete their own due diligence to determine vehicle condition and operability, including tanks, pumps, and other vehicle accessories during the application window.
Questions regarding the transfer process should be directed to DNR Fire District Assistance at 360-902-1300.

Volunteer Fire Assistance Funding

Administered by DNR through funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) provides grants and wildfire training opportunities to fire districts and departments in Washington state.
Opportunities for this funding may be available to fire districts and departments that:
  • Respond to wildland fire on private, state or federal lands.
  • Serve communities with a population of 10,000 or fewer residents.
  • Serve a community of more than 10,000 residents AND a service area that includes a rural community of fewer than 10,000 residents (VFA funding is only available for the rural area).
*VFA programs may not be available every year dependent upon funding. Call 360-902-1300 for details. 

VFA Grants

The VFA grant program provides a 50 percent match for purchases of personal protective equipment and general equipment. The program is administered in two phases annually:
Phase 1 (Closed until March 2021)
  • Dependent upon funding, next year’s Phase 1 grant is scheduled to open in March 2021.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other fire equipment can be acquired through the DNR fire cache at a 50% cost savings.
  • Eligible fire districts place orders using the “Phase 1 Order” shopping cart (see link below).
Phase 2  (now closed)

Wildland Fire Training

  • DNR administered NWCG wildland firefighting courses 
  • Courses may be scheduled, to extent possible, in or near your community
  • DNR instructors who meet PMS 310.1: NIMS Wildland Fire Qualification System Guide

Firefighter Property Program*

 1998 M1078 - Before  1998 M1078 - After  2010 M916A3 - Before  2010 M916A3 - After
This year, the engine transfer process will begin October 1 with recipient districts notified by November 15. This will allow those districts two or more weeks to submit Phase 2 grants to assist with placing engines in service. We typically open Phase 2 the first or second week of October and close December 1. We will evaluate and may run the Phase 2 applications longer.
This program helps fire districts and fire departments get surplus Department of Defense vehicles suitable for low-cost conversion to support firefighting and emergency services. Other equipment, such as generators, forklifts, UTVs, and trailers are also available. Fire districts receive the title to the property. Equipment is available from Ft. Lewis and from military bases across the county. Districts and departments pay the expense of transporting the equipment from the military base (over half of the vehicles and equipment located through this program come from other states).
Opportunities to obtain equipment through this program may be available to fire protection districts and fire departments in Washington state that:
  • Agree to put the vehicle in service within a year of taking possession.
  • Maintain the vehicle in service for an additional year after placing it in service.
  • Have a current Fire District Assistance agreement in place with DNR.
*This program, with a few exceptions, replaces the Federal Excess Personal Property (FEPP) in Washington state.
NOTICE: The Department of Army has changed access requirements to Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM).

Federal Excess Personal Property (FEPP)

The FEPP program allows fire districts to obtain, on loan, federal excess property from the USFS through DNR. The USFS retains ownership of the equipment. Districts must return the equipment when no longer needed. DNR maintains biennial inventories of all FEPP equipment currently on loan to fire districts.
Fire districts that want to return FEPP equipment must complete and submit a FEPP Disposal Form. Follow instructions provided on the form.

For assistance, contact DNR's Fire District Assistance Program at 360-902-1300.

Questions or comments?

Federal Civil Rights
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, DNR does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. However, should a person wish to file a discrimination complaint, please write to:
USDA, Director
Office of Civil Rights

Room 326-W, Whitten Building
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Washington D.C. 20250-9410
or call 202.720.5964 (voice and TDD)
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.