FEMA Awards Grant To Yarnell Fire Department

By  Stina Sieg
February 21, 2014

(Photo by Stina Sieg-KJZZ)
The Yarnell Hill Fire destroyed more than 100 homes and killed 19 elite firefighters in June 2013.

The fire department in the little town of Yarnell has been awarded a grant from FEMA. The department will receive $400,000 over four years.

It is called the Staffing For Adequate Fire and Emergency Response or SAFER grant, and it will help staff the Yarnell Fire District as it enters lean times. The department predicts it will lose about a third of its budget or around $60,000 in the upcoming budget year.

The Yarnell Hill Fire, which killed 19 firefighters in June, also destroyed more than 100 homes in Yarnell. That decreased the taxes that helps fund the department. Chief Ben Palm said the grant will help pay for new equipment and volunteers.

"So, to be able to get more people in to keep the community safer and the surrounding communities that we do mutual aid with on calls, to be able to do that, this is definitely a big shot in the arm," said Palm.

Yarnell Hill Fire District has four full-time staff and 17 volunteer staff members. One of their current projects is creating a 100-foot fire barrier meant to help protect the town from future blazes.