Companies can now make a donation to support rural firefighter efforts through one of Oklahoma’s 11 regional councils, according to state Reps. Joe Dorman and Mike Sanders.

The two lawmakers, who regularly work together on behalf of rural firefighters, said this year’s drought has created a strain on fire departments around the state. When independent oil and gas producer Apache Corporation questioned them on how to best make a donation to multiple fire departments, they contacted the Oklahoma Association of Regional Councils (OARC) to see about distributing donations through the state’s 11 regional councils.

“The wildfire that hit the wildlife preserve in Comanche County cost the responding fire departments $25,000 just for their fuel,” Dorman (D-Rush Springs) said. “Although the Legislature did the right thing in maintaining funding for firefighters, it just wasn’t enough for the conditions they’ve faced over the summer. Private donations are vital to ensure the continued safety of Oklahoma’s rural communities.”

“Rural firefighters have gone to heroic lengths to quickly squash wildfires in my district before they could do serious damage,” Sanders (R-Kingfisher) said. “The size and scope of many of the fires around the state has meant that many departments came to each other’s aid. This means fuel is spent on traveling to give mutual aid, increased man hours and extra wear-and-tear on equipment.”

Apache Corporation is committing $50,000 to the wildfire effort with the help of OARC. The company also plans to donate an $80,000 compressed natural gas (CNG) firefighting vehicle to Elk City.

Governor Mary Fallin said she is pleased to see this new avenue to help support firefighters.

“Our firefighters have worked tirelessly to protect the lives and property of their fellow Oklahomans, even as the drought and hot weather have stretched their resources to the limits. I appreciate, as I know they will, the support and generous contributions that our companies and private citizens are offering,” said Fallin.

Donations in the Central Oklahoma region can be made through ACOG.

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