Oregon State Fire Marshal Issues Grants to Boost Staffing Ahead of Wildfire Season

Posted on April 10, 2024

To boost the number of firefighters across Oregon before wildfire season, the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) announced it has awarded $6 million in grants to 191 local fire agencies across the state.

The 2024 Wildfire Season Staffing Grant program is in its third year. Local agencies in the Oregon structural fire service were eligible to apply for up to $35,000. The funding will allow agencies to bring on additional firefighters or increase on-duty hours during the 2024 fire season. A list of agencies awarded funding can be found here.

The 2023 Wildfire Season Staffing Grant program was integral to the success in protecting communities, adding more than 1,500 paid firefighters to the Oregon fire service. 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 staffing grant program has been a huge success for the Oregon fire service and our district,” Sublimity Fire District Chief Alan Hume said. “It allowed us to staff our station during the busiest time of the year, which we previously couldn’t do. This resulted in quicker responses with adequate staffing for not only our district, but our neighboring agencies. Last year we had several fires in our area with the potential to develop into larger, extended duration fires. We were able, as region, to keep those fires smaller.”

“This grant has provided us the ability to respond to all requests for emergency services, including automatic and mutual aid requests in our district,” Crooked River Ranch Rural Fire Protection District Chief Sean Hartley said. “This program is instrumental in keeping fires in our community small and allowed us to respond to multiple calls for service at the same time.”

This 2024 Wildfire Season Staffing Grant program is part of a multi-pronged approach to combat wildfire in Oregon. Over the last three years, the OSFM has made strategic investments to modernize the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System and help communities become more wildfire adapted.

This grant is part of the OSFM’s Response Ready Oregon initiative. The OSFM is looking for sustained funding for this program and is exploring all options to continue this highly successful grant in 2025 and beyond.

ABOUT RESPONSE READY OREGON

The OSFM’s Response Ready Oregon initiative was created to help boost capacity and modernize wildfire response within the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System (OFMAS). The goal of Response Ready Oregon is to keep fires small and away from communities, reducing costly conflagrations.

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