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DNRC Headquarters
1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
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Fire Grants



Rural Fire Capacity Grant Program (RFC)

The Rural Fire Capacity (RFC) Grant Program assists rural volunteer fire departments by providing cost-share grants for training, equipping and organizing. Rural fire departments represent the first line of defense in coping with wildfires and other emergencies in rural areas and rural communities. These departments are charged with the protection of lives, homes, and business investments.


Provide financial, technical, and related assistance to volunteer fire departments to organize, train, and equip local firefighters. Assist qualifying fire departments in saving lives and protecting financial investments and enhance environmental quality to revitalize rural areas and communities of 10,000 persons or less.


The Rural Fire Capacity (RFC) Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, makes funding available to rural fire departments. This federal funding is passed through and administered by the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC).  Originally authorized in Title IV of Public Law 92-419, “The Rural Development Act of 1972” The mission, to organize, train, and equip local fire forces to prevent, control and suppress fires in rural areas. FY 1975 was the first appropriation of $3.5 million provided for technical financial, technical, and other assistance. Title IV was later repealed by the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978, P.L. 95-313 §7 which authorizes; The Cooperative Fire Protection Programs, (i.e., SFA §7(b)2 and VFA §7(b)3) formerly known as Rural Fire Prevention and Control, changed to “State Fire Assistance” during the FY1999 Budget process; and Funding no longer passed through the Rural Housing Service to the Forest Service. The Forest Stewardship Act of 1990 aka “1990 Farm Bill”. This Act moved Cooperative Fire Protection Programs (CFP) to Section10 of the CFAA, §10(b)3 contains RFC (formerly known as VFA) Program authority. The 10,000-community population limit is located in Section 30(b)a of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.


  • Any fire department that is based in a community, with a population of 10,000 or less (latest Census), is eligible to apply for funding under the RFC program.
  • The RFC program defines a rural fire department as a recognized fire protection organization providing primary fire protection to a specific rural area or rural community. A rural area or a rural community with a population of 10,000 or less, or a community with a population greater than 10,000 that includes service to a rural community of 10,000 or less. Grant funds must benefit the rural area or rural community.
  • Fire Departments must be National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliant.
  • National Fire Incident Reporting (NFIRS) compliant by reporting ALL fire occurrences to NFIRS as required by Montana Law (MCA 7-33-2201)
  • Purchase(s) must be made following receipt of the award letter. No purchase(s) may be made prior to the date listed on the RFC award letter will be eligible for cost-share assistance.
  • Financial assistance on any project requires a non-federal match for project expenditures. The funding must be matched by 10 percent basis (90% RFC-10% match).
  • Fire Departments must have a federal tax identification number (TIN), as well as a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) (Previously Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number). The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number will be replaced by a "new non-proprietary identifier" requested in, and assigned by, the System for Award Management ( This new identifier is being called the Unique Entity Identifier (UEI).



  • Wildland Training for Department Personnel
  • Wildland Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Wildland Equipment and Water Handling
  • Radio Communications (P25 Compliant)
  • Fire Department Organization and Planning. 
  • Formation of a NEW rural or volunteer fire district



  • Any single item costing $5,000 or more will not be eligible for grant funding consideration.
  • Construction or improvement of fire stations for housing equipment, normal operational expenses and maintenance do not qualify for RFC funds.
  • Structural PPE and equipment.



                Guides for the Amplifund Portal:
                                 Video Tutorial on Registration / Account Creation (6 min.)
                                 Support Reference Guide

Please review the RFC Grant Guide for additional information.

Send To:

Montana DNRC
Attn: RFC Grant Program Officer
2705 Spurgin Road
Missoula, Montana 59804-3199


Cooperative Fire Protection Capacity Grant (CFPC)


DNRC's fundamental intent in areas of State/County Cooperative Fire Protection (County Coop) is to build and maintain the capacity of local governments so that local firefighters routinely succeed on the initial attack of wildland fires and avoid the need for large-scale involvement by the DNRC or our federal partners.The County Coop Fire Protection arrangement builds upon the fire suppression capacity of communities and local government and has been a highly effective fire protection model in Montana for the past 50+ years. This success can be attributed to the strong partnerships and cooperation that exist across the state. 

To better support this fire protection arrangement in an ever-changing wildfire environment, DNRC has made funding available aimed at cooperatively increasing local fire leadership, preparedness, and fire response capabilities. Through this opportunity, DNRC seeks to fund and leverage staff capacity or projects in support of local fire response coordination needs while also supporting DNRC County Coop fire protection related functions.

Desired Outcomes

  • Actions and investments that further the capacity of rural fire protection entities at the local level, while also supporting the fundamental intent of the DNRC County Coop program.
  • Well-coordinated, safe, and effective local wildland fire response.
  • Increased wildfire preparedness efforts and improved coordination between local, state,a nd federal fire response organizations.

Eligible Applicants
Montana counties with a current Cooperative Fire Protection Agreement with the State of Montana as outlined in MCA 7-33-2202 (4b) are eligible to apply.

Allowable Activities
This grant opportunity is intended to further the capacity of rural fire protection entities at the local level, while also supporting the fundamental intent of the DNRC State/County Cooperative Fire Protection program. The following items are examples of potentially eligible projects. DNRC encourages innovative approaches to furthering local fire leadership, preparedness, and fire response capabilities. 

Note: These funds are intended to supplement activities or fulfill unmet needs--they cannot be used to replace previously allocated funding.

Examples of eligible high priority activities include:

  • Funding County Fire Warden, Deputy County Fire Warden, or Rural Fire Coordinator positions that are currently unfunded, part-time, ad hoc, or volunteer.
  • Reimbursement/stipends for other unfunded or volunteer fire leadership positions such as County Rural Fire Chiefs, Fire Chiefs or Duty Chiefs/Duty Officers during periods of heightened fire activity.
  • Reimbursement/stipends for County Rural Fire Department or Rural Fire District Personnel for fire response.
  • Other projects that further the capacity and capabilities of local fire response entities.

Other examples of eligible, but lower priority activities include:

  • IT Infrastructure that better supports well-coordinated, safe, and effective local wildland fire response (Dispatch, CAD, GIS, Mutual Aid Communications).
  • Wildland fire leadership and incident command training.
  • Other items that directly support high priority activities listed above with a reasonable justification.

If funding staff/personnel time or positions, Grantee will administer payment and/or payroll responsibilities for those individuals. The Grantee is also responsible for making sure that it and its employees are covered by Workers' Compensation Insurance and in compliance with the coverage provisions of the Workers' Compensation Act.

This grant funding is subject to the following restrictions:

  • Grant funding must result in a net increase in fire response capacity. It cannot be used to repurpose or replace funding of positions that are already funded.
  • Funds are not intended for fire suppression equipment or personal protective equipment. Other grant funding sources exist for these types of items.
  • Projects not directly related to furthering local fire leadership, preparedness, and fire response capabilities are ineligible.

Grant Amount
Grants awarded will typically range from $10,000 to a maximum of $30,000, per fiscal year (July 1-June 30). Award amounts may vary due to funding availability and the number and quality of applications received. Multi-year applications will be considered with a 2-year maximum.

Match Requirement
This grant does not require match. However, cash and/or in-kind contributions are encourages to support the cooperative intent of this opportunity.

How To Apply
Complete the Cooperative Fire Protection Capacity Grant application form on the right-hand side of this page. Submit per instructions by 5 p.m. on May 16th, 2022.

Letters of support for the funding request from participating fire departments, rural fire councils, and other organizations are not required but will strengthen an application.

Reporting Requirements
Grantees will be required to report to DNRC on a quarterly basis to describe project accomplishments and how funds are being utilized. A final report will be required stating how the funds were used and the outcomes that were achieved.

RFC Grant Deadline - May 20, 2022

2022 RFC Forms
RFC Grant Application
RFC Grant Guide
RFC Grant Program Timeline

or Apply Electronically
RFC Grant Application - Montana Amplifund
Video Tutorial on Registration / Account Creation (6 min.)
Amplifund Support Reference Guide

DUNS to Unique Entity ID (SAM) Transition
Information on how to transition to or request a UEI can be found here: | Duns - Sam UEI


CFPC Grant Deadline - May 16, 2022

2022 CFPC Forms
2022 CFPC RFP and Application (Word)
2022 CFPC RFP and Application (Fillable PDF)