James Harlan, left, a Missouri Department of Conservation forestry employee, presents a matching grant check to Kyle Hale, board president of the Houston Rural Fire Association. The department used their matching grant check of ,922 to help with the purchase of two backpack blowers and a 300-gallon water unit for a brush truck.

The Houston Rural Fire Department was among 169 rural agencies sharing in checks up to $3,000 to help them purchase personal protective gear and firefighting equipment.

About $373,585 was presented to the departments that are required to match the funds that are provided by Missouri Department of Conservation and U.S. Forest Service.

During the last 28 years, more than $5.9 million has been distributed to help increase the safety of firefighters and provide them with better firefighting equipment, said Bill Altman, forestry field supervisor, fire, with the Missouri Department of Conservation.


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