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Volunteer fire dept. funding

Area volunteer fire departments are dealing with much tighter budgets this year, but they're hoping that will change after Thursday's budget debate in Austin.

The state's budget was reduced by more than half last year even though area firefighters say they're still waiting for reimbursements from their biggest fire season in years, which was in 2011.

The annual budget for volunteer firefighters was cut from $20 million to $7 million. Texas Forest Service Regional Fire Coordinator 1 Troy Ducheneaux says they're hoping to once again receive up to the full amount.

He says, "There's not really a set number now as to what departments get. Or how much they will not receive. It's going by what they're requesting and looking at the priorities in certain areas."

TFS says the funds go to the departments that need it the most. And it's based on population size, closest mutual aid available, and how recent they've received funding.

Since 2012 didn't see as many fire calls as 2011, training has increased, and they say they're preparing for summer where more fires are expected.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10. 

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