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Federal Government Launches Pilot Program to Strengthen Local Governments’ Wildfire Response
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: February 6, 2024

$5 million in initial funding from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda will expand local wildfire response capacity 

WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior today 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 President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – will help small, remote emergency response agencies quickly expand their wildfire response capacity as they continue to face the devastating impacts of climate change, drought, and intensifying wildfires.  

“As climate-fueled wildfires continue to grow in intensity and frequency, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is providing new resources to equip local governments and the firefighting workforce with the resources they need to keep our communities and landscapes safe,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “This pilot program will help more local and state agencies quickly respond when a wildfire starts nearby, increasing their capacity to protect local communities, property, infrastructure, and precious natural and cultural resources.”  

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. 

The slip-on tanker pilot program will strengthen coordination between the Interior Department, states and local communities as we work together to address the growing threat of wildfires. Improved collaboration is a central tenet of the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commissions’ final report, which was released in September 2023. The Commission, created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, was charged with making recommendations to Congress to improve federal policies related to the mitigation, suppression and management of wildland fires in the United States and the rehabilitation of land devastated by wildland fires. Comprised of representatives from federal agencies; state, local and Tribal governments; and the private sector, the Commission crafted a comprehensive, consensus-based set of recommendations to address the nation’s wildfire crisis.   

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is bringing much-needed support to communities across the country to increase the resilience of lands facing wildfire threats. The funding available today through this pilot program is part of more than $785 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding allocated by Interior since the Law’s enactment to address wildfire risk on public and Tribal lands and better support federal wildland firefighters.  

Grant applications must be submitted through’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. 

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