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Rural Oklahoma fire departments fear funding issues during shutdown

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma officials anticipate problems with funding the state’s rural firefighting services if the partial federal government shutdown persists.

The Journal Record reports the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture’s forestry division received communication from the U.S. forest service not to suspend any activities on some of their federal grants, despite being unable to access the subsidies for a potential fire hazard.

The forestry division is responsible for taking the lead in emergency management when handling wildfires across the state.

Most funding assistance in Oklahoma comes from the Rural Fire Defense 80/20 Reimbursement Grant program through the Agriculture Department. The grants are available to roughly 100 departments that serve communities with fewer than 10,000 people.

Oklahoma’s driest season is typically in January, with March and April producing the state’s highest fire currents.

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