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DNRC Headquarters
1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
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Rural Fire Capacity Grant


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 Title IV was later repealed by the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978, P.L. 95-313 §7 which authorizes; The Cooperative Fire Protection Programs, (i.e., SFA §7(b)2 and VFA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 data universal numbering system number (DUNS) issued by Dun and Bradstreet.



  • 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.



  • Review the edibility criteria to make sure you qualify
  • Complete the grant application and send to the DNRC
  • Or, to apply electronically, click on the link: Montana Webgrants



Send To:

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