HARRISBURG, Pa. (WKBN) – Three Mercer County Fire Departments are receiving state funding to improve their operations.

The Shapiro Administration awarded $883,143 in grants to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities increase protection from wildfires while encouraging fire safety across the Commonwealth.

Locally, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources awarded grants to Clark, Transfer and the West Middlesex Volunteer Fire Departments. The total amount of money being given to the departments is $17,078.

“Ensuring we have well-equipped and highly trained wildfire fighters is key in protecting our forests and wilds from wildfires, whether they are human-caused and naturally occurring,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “The best way we can show our gratitude to those who help fight brush and forest fires across the commonwealth is to practice fire safety in all situations, especially in October and November when wildfires are most common in Pennsylvania.”

Priority was placed on projects that include the purchase of wildfire suppression equipment and protective clothing. Grants may also be used for purchasing mobile or portable radios, installing dry hydrants, wildfire prevention and mitigation work, training wildfire fighters, or converting and maintaining federal excess vehicles. The vehicles are presented to the local departments exhibiting the greatest needs and those that commit to outfitting them for fire suppression.

DCNR encourages those starting a fire at home or at a campsite to make sure there are no combustible items within 10 feet of the fire. Additionally, it is recommended to have a rake or shovel along with water to properly suppress the embers of a fire.