Erath County volunteer fire departments were recently awarded more than $28,000 of Texas Forest Service grants and are now able to upgrade outdated equipment.

"This gives us the ability to provide the greatest service to our citizens from auto accidents to wildfires," Erath County Volunteer Fire Rescue coordinator Chris Gable said.

Dublin Fire Department recently purchased a tanker engine and Harbin Volunteer Fire Department - the newest addition to the county's fire fighting force - is purchasing new equipment for the first time since its inception.

ECVFR will purchase the Jaws of Life. The grant also provides continuing education opportunities by paying tuition and fees for schools and trainings.

Departments are required to fund 25 percent of the final cost in conjunction with grant funding.

During the 82nd legislature, Texas reduced volunteer department grant funding from $35 million to $7 million over the next biennium, Gable said.

Over the years, the same Texas Forest Service program has awarded funding for at least one fire truck and other equipment for nine Erath County departments.