With diesel costing $4 per gallon, many rural fire departments are facing their own budgetary emergencies. The Northwest Arkansas Times reported that Round Mountain’s Fire Department has already spent $900 on fuel this year, as compared with $500 it had spent on fuel by early May 2007. Last year, fire dues went up from $40 to $60, but more increases may be on the way.
In Arkansas, “Most rural departments can count on county money and Act 833, a law set up in 1991 promising state money to purchase equipment and trucks, to set up their budget.” The Nob Hill fire chief said his department receives “around $ 36,000 a year from the county and an additional $10,000 to $12, 000 from Act 833.”
The Crescent News reported on the problem in the Buckeye State. For the fire department in Defiance, Ohio, “the budget for fuel has increased by more than $4,000 in the past three years.” U.S. Rep. John Boehner, of West Chester, Ohio, has been speaking out about high fuel costs and their penalty on rural Americans. He noted that, “In Texas, volunteer fire departments are reducing their equipment budgets to be able to afford gas.”
What kind of mileage does a fire truck get anyway? According to reporter Jenny Derringer, “there’s no point in even trying to figure (it) out … Upon arrival at a fire scene, a truck may be parked and running for several hours while firefighters tackle the emergency at hand.” Water pumps and sprayers also consume fuel.