Volunteer fire department across the state are facing more challenges. Funding is being slashed because the Texas Forest Service grant money was cut by 18 million dollars this year.
Their pockets are already stretched thin. Coming off an unprecedented fire season, the last thing any volunteer fire department wants to hear is funding is getting cut. Equipment is what is on the chopping block. Jack Simpson, Fire Chief of the Ringgold Volunteer Fire Department comments, "If they don't continue funding trucks and equipment it's not just going to be one department, it's going to be a trend across all the departments. With trucks and equipment getting older they get less reliable."
Chief Simpson says they will have no other choice. "If we don't get a grant for a truck we just have to buy a used truck. we will have to try to make one and put the units and do it ourselves." The Texas Forest Service says budget cuts is the reason volunteer firefighters are seeing their annual state grant funding decrease by 18 million dollars.
The cuts are raising huge concerns for Chief Simpson his crews and his trucks. Chief Simpson says, "I had hoped the time this truck was tens years old we would have a new one. It would allow us to have newer equipment and keep better equipment all the time."
And if funding continues to dwindle Ringgold VFD will have to turn to the community for support. The VFD will need help maintaining a good reliable department for the future.
The Texas Forest Service says volunteer firefighters across the state respond to almost all Texas blazes.