The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is offering grants to fire departments for equipment to fight wildfires. Gail Kantak, the fire supervisor for the D-N-R’s Forestry Bureau, says the money’s available to Iowa because of problems in other states. She says Congress initiated the national fire plan in 2000 as a result of several wildfires in the western U.S. She says it helped provide a lot of funding for all 50 states for fire departments that have to fight the fires. As part of the grant process Kantak says the D-N-R is conducting a survey to see how many departments deal with wildfires.She says in Iowa we’re mostly talking about grass fires. She says we’ve had a real big increase in conservation reserve lands that’ve been reestablished as tall-grass prairies. Kantak says fire departments have to help when the grasslands are intentionally burned as a management tool, and she says there are also the fires started accidentally. Kantak says they’re seeking any information they can find on wildfires. She says in some cases it might not be just the fire departments, but the county conservation boards may also have information on wildfires. Kantak say the fire departments that return the wildfire survey will get extra points in the grant application process.
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