President signs bill to fund fire grants, USFA and service benefits
The fire service funding components were amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act.
WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, President Obama signed into law a bill that will ensure funding for several fire-service programs including the U.S. Fire Administration.
The fire-service funding came as amendments to H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act, which cleared both houses of Congress in late December.
The law will:
- Reauthorize the FIRE and SAFER grant programs through FY 2017
- Reauthorize the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) through FY 2017
- Make reforms to the Public Safety Officers Benefits program
- Authorize the transfer of up to 7 excess aircraft from the U.S. Department of Defense to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for wildland fire fighting operations
"This is a great day for the fire and emergency services," said Chief Hank Clemmensen, the International Association of Fire Chief's president and chairman of the board in December. "This legislation reassures Congressional support for the USFA and FIRE and SAFER grant programs. It also makes important reforms to the FIRE and SAFER grant programs, and the Public Safety Officers' Benefits program.
"Finally, the bill begins the process of increasing the U.S. Forest Service's aviation capabilities for wildland fire suppression operations. I would like to thank our supporters on Capitol Hill and the leadership of the other fire service organizations for working together to achieve these major accomplishments."