Programs in place to help volunteer fire departments to stay afloat financially

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Fires have been popping up all around KOTA Territory but with all the volunteer fire departments working with small budgets, are they able to endure the cost?

If South Dakota Wildland Fire asks for assistance from fire departments around the Black Hills and the fire is on federal ground, then Wildland Fire will pay the departments and the state will repay them.

But if the fire is not on federal ground, the fire departments have to bear the cost themselves unless the governor calls for a state of emergency.

If the volunteer fire departments are low on funds, South Dakota Wildland Fire will step in and help out.

Assistant Chief of Operations South Dakota Wildland Fire, Jim Burk, "If they start running low on funding, say if they start breaking equipment, have stuff go bad, I also have what they call the volunteer fire systems grant program. It's a 50-50 cost share, if they start running low on funding, say if they start breaking equipment, have stuff go bad, I also have what they call the volunteer fire systems grant program and it's a 50-50 cost share so if they start getting a lot of equipment expense or start wrecking a lot of equipment they can apply through me or contact me and we can help them offset some of those cost."

Many of the volunteer fire departments rely on community fundraisers to have money for the year.