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 October 15.
2023 Calendar
October 1 - Engine Descriptions and PowerPoint Available for viewing
October 15 - Application process opens for districts to apply for surplus engines
November 15 - Application window closes and selections will be made
December 1 - DNR begins to notify districts of the results
This year, DNR will surplus 11 fire engines, to eligible Washington fire districts. RCW 76.04.135(4) authorizes DNR to transfer ownership of surplus DNR engines to fire districts in wildfire prone areas. These districts need to have a median income level below the state average. Interested fire districts can submit a request for an engine by completing the Surplus Engine Request Form. 
Districts can view the engines in person October 15 through the November 10 (Mon-Fri) at the DNR Compound located at 801 88th Avenue SE, Tumwater, WA. To schedule a viewing of engines, please contact Nick Cronquist, DNR Fire District Assistance, at 360-480-2700.  
DNR will consider the following when prioritizing applications for engines:
  • Wildfire Prone Area
  • Mutual aid response agreements with DNR
  • Volunteer firefighter membership
  • District Budget
  • Average Annual Wildfire Responses
  • Districts that have not received an engine in the last five years are first priority. *Decks are excluded*
  • Additional criteria may also be utilized
The median income is a required assessment based on the criteria written in the 2017 legislation. The income levels are determined based on OFM-provided data in regards to individual fire districts total areas and taxable income levels. 
Requests must be received no later than November 15, 2023 and DNR will begin to notify districts of the results as soon as December 1, 2023.
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 funding for purchases of personal protective equipment and general equipment. The program is administered in two phases annually:
Phase 1 (Closed)
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other fire equipment can be acquired annually through DNR fire cache at a 50% cost savings.
  • For 2023, eligible fire districts may place orders beginning March 1, 2023 using the “Phase 1 Order” shopping cart (see link below).
  • Shopping cart prices are listed at a 50% discount. The amount ordered in the shopping cart is what the district/department will be charged (shipping costs are additional to this amount).
  • Shopping cart orders are limited to a total shopping cart price of $3,000.
  • Districts can pre-plan their orders using the “Phase 1 2023 Product List with Prices” link below, which contains the products and prices that will be available in the shopping cart when it opens.
  • See the “Phase 1 Grant Information” link below for eligibility and other information. 
Phase 2 (Opening Nov. 1, 2023)
The 2023 Phase 2 grant cycle included revisions to this grant, with the incorporation of State funding provided through House Bill 1168. A restructured project ratio of 90% funding award and 10% total project cost match requirement allowed application for several project types, including fire equipment, communications, training, prevention and more. Additionally, this incorporated State funding allowed for the grant request maximum to be raised from $12,000 to $18,000. See the 2022 Phase 2 Grant Requirements for eligibility and other information about how this grant is administered. In 2022, 55 grants were awarded. 
Phase 3 (Closed)
The Phase 3 grant is a new grant funded by Federal VFA and HB1168 funding. We recognize the value in fire districts/departments having adequate and proper equipment as a necessity in fighting wildland fire. This new grant supports providing WA State fire districts/departments an opportunity to increase their capability and protect our communities against wildland fire. Our intent is to award 25 districts/departments across Washington state with up to $7,000.00 with a 10 percent match for a remote type vehicle fire nozzle.

House Bill 1168 Grants

The 1168 Grant Programs are funded by a legislative funding allocation provided through House Bill 1168, an Act relating to long-term forest health and the reduction of wildfire dangers.  
The objective of the 1168 Grant Programs is to improve the capacity, capability, and safety of rural and volunteer fire service entities that protect rural communities and play a substantial cooperative role in the suppression of wildland fires.  
The 1168 Grant Programs offer two funding opportunities to all Washington State fire service entities that meet the eligibility requirements.  
  • Operations Grant Application  - Applications are accepted December 5, 2022 through January 31, 2023. DNR is planning to award 10 grants statewide. 
  • Personal Protective Equipment Grant Application - Applications are accepted December 5, 2022 through January 31, 2023. DNR is planning to award 10 grants statewide. 
    • *This funding opportunity targets fire service partners in need of large PPE purchases due to certain circumstances as described in the scoring prioritization. For PPE purchases valuing $6,000 or less, please consider the VFA Phase 1 purchase opportunity through DNR Fire Cache, opening March 1, 2022.
  • Now Closed - Computer Grant Application - Requirements for Computer Grant and Computer Grant Application - DNR intends on awarding 55 fire districts/departments up to $4000 to be used toward computer equipment and/or computer related equipment. This Grant will be awarded through a scoring process based on information provided through the application process. The funding for this grant will be dispersed soon after awards and there will be no match requirement.
  • OPEN - Training Grant Application - Requirements for Training Grant and Training Grant Application - DNR intends on awarding 40 fire districts/departments up to $10,000 to be used toward wildland fire training, to include, but not limited to; travel, meals, training materials, and applicable course fees. The funding for this grant will be dispersed soon after awards and there will be no match requirement. This grant opportunity will be first come first serve.  

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
Before After After Before
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.