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.
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).
Grant Cycle
The Requests for Proposals opens April 1, 2023 and closes May 19, 2023


A rural fire department which is defined as "an organized, not for profit, fire protection organization that provides service primarily to a community or city with a population of 10,000 or less to a rural area, as defined by the Secretary of Agriculture, whose firefighting personnel is 80 percent or more volunteer, and that is recognized as a fire department by the laws of the State. 16 U.S.C. 2106.

Approved Projects

  • 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

Unapproved Projects

  • 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
  • Boots
  • Medical supplies and equipment
  • National Fire Incident Reporting (NFIRS) compliant by reporting ALL fire occurrences to NFIRS as required by Montana Law (MCA 7-33-2201)
  • National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliant
  • At the time of application for a RFC grant, the applicant must hold an active Unique Entity Identifier (UEI)
  • Taxpayer/Federal Identification Number (TIN)
  • Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion - Lower Tier Covered Transactions, Form AD-1048.
    • Each Grantee must certify that no vendor or contractor debarred or suspended from being able to work under a federal grant, according to the terms of 2 CFR Part 180, has received any money under this grant project by signing the Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion - Lower Tier Covered Transactions, Form AD-1048
  • 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 legible for cost-share assistance.
Match for this grants requires a 10:1 cost share match of non-federal funds.
  • Application materials can be found on HERE or on the DNR website at: on April 1, 2023 or by calling (406) 542-4267
  • On request an application can be sent by email or USPS
  • Applicants can be submitted via Submittable or sent to DNRC RFC Grant Program Manager at rheablankenship@mt.gov
  • All applications are due no later then May 19, 2023.

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Contact Us

Rhea Blankenship

RFC Program MAnager