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Firefighters here, in neighboring counties benefit from timber-sales revenues

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By The Staff

INDIANAPOLIS - Nostalgia may be fine for some things, but Faron Livingston has few fond memories of the backpack-style water cans firefighters used to have to lug around to battle brush and forest fires.

The water cans were a cumbersome, one-size-fits-all apparatus that weighed 58 pounds when fully loaded with water. "If you were deep into the woods, it would cut right into your collarbone," said Livingston, chief of the Bloomington Township Fire Department.

They have been replaced by lighter and more functional models thanks to an Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry program that shares timber-sale revenues with counties where state forests are located.

Each year, affected counties receive 15 percent of DNR net proceeds on timber harvested from state forests. State law requires counties to allocate half the funds to township fire departments. The Forestry Division is distributing a record $366,870.94 to 16 counties based on revenue from 2008 timber sales. It's a 21-percent increase over the previous high mark in 2007. Since 1991, the program has given almost $2.5 million to the designated counties.

Perry County received $4,471.40 in 2008. Morgan County topped the list of those receiving 2008 allocations with almost $73,400.