USDA Forest Service, Fire and Aviation Management.  Header holds navigational links

Forests and Range Lands


Aviation Safety Center



Fire Applications (Software)

Fire Equipment

Fire Management

Fire Management Today

Fire Science

Fire Use


News & Information


People in Fire

Prevention & Education


Risk Management

Tools & Technology



Wildland Fire Safety

Rural & Volunteer Fire Departments header with photo of volunteer fire department doing structure protection in the wildland/urban interface.

Volunteer Fire Assistance:
providing a little help for our friends


More than 1.5 billion acres in the United States are privately owned or own by State and local governments. Basic fire protection on these lands is the responsibility of State and local entities.

Rural firefighting resources are often the first line of defense in meeting expanded protection needs for wildland-urban interface fires. Of the more than 35,000 local fire agencies nationwide, 75% are volunteer. They provide nearly 80% of initial attack on wildland fires in the United States. These departments provide, at no cost, wildfire and emergency protection service to 43% of the population, at an estimated value of $36 billion per year. The Forest Service has programs to help these crucial volunteers through their State Foresters.

The Volunteer Fire Assistance Program (VFA), formerly known as the Rural Community Fire Protection (RCFP) Program, can provide Federal financial, technical, and other assistance to State Foresters and other appropriate officials to organize, train and equip fire departments in rural areas and rural communities to suppress fires. A rural community is defined as having 10,000 or less population. This 10,000 population limit for participation in the VFA Program facilitates distribution of available VFA funding to the most needy fire departments.



Volunteer Fire Assistance

Related links






United States Department of Agriculture USDA Forest Service