During July and August, matching funds grant checks for rural fire departments are being distributed by the Missouri Department of Conservation, Forestry Division staff. One hundred sixty nine fire departments are receiving checks for up to $4,000 to help with the purchase of personal protective gear and firefighting equipment, for wildfire as well as structure fire suppression efforts. Douglas County rural fire departments receiving assistance grants this year are Skyline Volunteer Fire Department and Eastern Douglas County Volunteer Fire Department. The total funding awarded to Missouri fire departments through the matching funds grant program this year is $361,564.30. Fire departments are required to match 50% of the funds which are provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the US Forest Service, Volunteer Fire Assistance Program. Throughout the last 30 years, over $8 million has been distributed to rural fire departments to help them increase the safety of their firefighters and provide them with better firefighting equipment, according to Ben Webster, Forestry Field Program Supervisor – Fire, Missouri Department of Conservation.