ALDER SPRINGS, Ala. -- The State of Alabama has offered grant funding to volunteer fire departments that battled the wildfires that cropped up during the drought, and firefighters say that funding is much-needed.
Remember back a few months ago when we didn't have any rain for weeks? Thousands of wildfires popped up all over Alabama.
"Normally we don't run maybe but six to seven woods fires or grass fires within a month's time," explained Alder Springs Volunteer Fire Department Chief James Edwards.
But during the incessant drought, Edwards says they responded to nearly 50 drought related fires in one month. "It drained the funds, of course, but it also drained the people down, because we're trying to work our regular jobs, but we're also trying to work the calls as they come in," Edwards said.
From October to December, the Alabama Forestry Commission said firefighters across the state battled 2,219 fires. Many of those firefighters were volunteers.
The state awarded reimbursement funding to many volunteer fire departments through a needs-based grant program. "We received 2,396 dollars," Edwards added.
That will go a long way to replace what was spent during the drought. Equipment repairs, fuel, and other expenses racked up.
The state made a total of $100,000 available through the program.
The department runs off of grant money and donations, so Edwards said every little bit helps.