On February 6th, the Department of the Interior (DOI)  launched a pilot program to strengthen local governments’ wildfire response by converting vehicles to wildland fire engines. This program – funded with an initial $5 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – will help small, remote emergency response agencies quickly expand their wildfire response capacity as they continue to face the impacts of climate change, drought, and intensifying wildfires.

The pilot program can be used by local governments to purchase slip-on tanker units that will allow them to quickly convert trucks and other vehicles to be operated as wildland fire engines. Local governments that provide emergency services to areas with a population of 25,000 or less are eligible to apply. Grant amounts will range from $10,000 to $200,000. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law authorized $50 million for the pilot program, and $5 million is available during this first round.  

Grant applications must be submitted through Grants.gov's website by March 21, 2024. Additional details about the pilot program and application process will be available in the Federal Register in the coming days.