Rural Fire Defense Lease Program

The Rural Fire Defense (RFD) Lease Program assists rural communities by:

  • establishing an initial fire protection program for unprotected communities
  • reinforcing existing fire departments with equipment and training

Since 1975, the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) has operated an RFD program. The effectiveness of the program is based on the development by the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) of fire suppression units such as the Super Fire Knocker, Wildland Brush Slip-In Unit, and Mobile Water Supply Tanker which enable volunteer fire departments to respond to structural, forest, and grass fires. The program also provides the GFC with a back-up force of equipment and trained people for emergency forest fire situations.

Federal Excess Property

The Georgia Forestry Commission is authorized to acquire Federal Excess Personal Property (FEPP) from the Federal Government under two authorizations:

  • Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978, which covers fire control on forested and watershed lands
  • Public Law 94-519 as amended, which is for assistance in all phases of fire control for communities with populations of less than 10,000.

The property continues to be Federally owned by the U.S.D.A. Forest Service. The Forest Service, in turn, loans it to the GFC to be utilized in its wildland fire suppression activities. Under Public Law 94-519 the Commission may loan the property to cooperators to utilize in their fire control activities.

For a rural fire department to obtain FEPP it must first submit an equipment request and be put on a priority list based on consultation with their local County Ranger. When a piece of equipment becomes available the fire department must sign an agreement with the GFC insuring the equipment will be maintained and utilized.