Oregon State Fire Marshal issues grants to boost staffing ahead of wildfire season

Posted on June 1, 2023

SALEM, Ore. – To boost the number of firefighters across Oregon ahead of wildfire season, the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) has awarded $6 million in grants to 185 local fire agencies across the state.

The 2023 Wildfire Season Staffing Grant is in its second year. Local agencies within the Oregon structural fire service were eligible to apply for up to $35,000. The funding will allow these agencies to hire additional firefighters for the 2023 fire season. This year, small agencies, many of which depend on volunteers, were prioritized to receive funding. A list of agencies awarded funding can be found here. The list includes the following fire districts: Amity, Aumsville, Dallas, Keizer, Mt. Angel, Polk Fire District 1, Silverton, Stayton, Sublimity, SW Polk County Fire District, Turner and Woodburn

“This grant is a beacon of hope for fire districts like ours, burdened by limited funding,” Mt. Angel Fire Chief Jim Trierweiler said. “It provides a lifeline, empowering us to overcome financial constraints and a shortage of volunteers. With this invaluable support, we can expand our team with skilled individuals, fortifying our mission to serve and protect our community this fire season.”

“The OSFM staffing grant has turned what has been a long-term vision and goal for McKenzie Fire and Rescue into a reality,” Chief Darren Bucich said. “Additional staffing will help us build on our ability to provide consistent alarm response, timely auto and mutual aid response, and the ability to continue to be a part of conflagrations.”

The 2022 grant was successful across the state, adding roughly 400 paid firefighters to the Oregon fire service during last summer’s wildfire season. These added resources allowed agencies to attack fires and keep them small and away from communities and added capacity to respond to other calls, ultimately saving lives. Read about the successes here.

The 2023 Wildfire Season Staffing Grant is part of a multi-pronged approach to combat wildfire in Oregon. Over the last two years, the OSFM has made strategic investments to modernize the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System and help communities be better prepared for wildfire.

This grant is part of the OSFM’s Response Ready Oregon initiative. This one-time funding was made possible through Senate Bill 762, which was signed into law in 2021.

ABOUT RESPONSE READY OREGON

The OSFM’s Response Ready Oregon initiative was created to help bolster capacity and modernize wildfire response within the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System (OFMAS). The goal of Response Ready Oregon is to attack fires while they are small and keep them away from communities.

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