HARRISBURG – The 2021 round of Volunteer Fire Assistance Grants to aid rural areas or communities with populations under 10,000 people will open on Monday, March 15, and close on Thursday, May 13. The program, administered through the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is geared to organizing, training and equipping local forces to prevent, control and suppress fires which threaten human life, livestock, wildlife, crops, pastures, orchards, woodlands and farmsteads. The key objectives of this program are to save lives and protect property in unprotected or inadequately protected rural areas. Therefore, the selection of the participating agencies must be based on vulnerability and the adequacy of existing fire protection. The maximum grant for 2021 is $10,000. For more information and to apply go to