Delaware dispatches 20-man crew to battle 8,800-acre blaze near Twin Falls, Idaho
Photo 1: Delaware’s wildfire crew mobilizes at Blackbird State Forest on August 6, 2012 before its departure to battle the 8,800-acre Cave Canyon Fire near Twin Falls, Idaho.
First Row (left to right): Chris Skrobot of Claymont, Stephen Johnas of Wilmington, Nathaniel Sommers of Smyrna, Jonathan Richardville of Wilmington, Michael Sethman of Middletown, Guy Cooper of Frankford, Henry Poole of Townsend, Todd Gsell of Townsend and Samual Topper of Federalsburg, MD
Back Row (left to right): Glenn Gladders (Crew Boss) of Dover, Howard Harrison of Wilmington, Scott Veasey of Millsboro, Timothy Moore of New Castle, Daryl Trotman of Ellendale, Brian Ward of Houston, Jeffery Wilson of Clayton, Todd W. Shaffer of Atglen, PA, Patrick Gilchrist of Townsend and John Cirafici of Milford
DOVER (Aug. 7, 2012) – For the second time this summer, the Delaware Forest Service is sending a crew of 20 volunteers to battle a wildfire in the western United States. The team is currently assigned to the Cave Canyon Fire, an 8,800-acre blaze located 15 miles southeast of Twin Falls, Idaho. Delaware’s team mobilized at Blackbird State Forest last evening in preparation for their departure from Harrisburg, PA today.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, even though the National Fire Preparedness Level remains at 3 on a 5-point scale (http://www.nifc.gov), there are currently 44 large uncontained fires nationwide, which often prompts a need for manpower and resources from other areas of the country such as the 20-state Eastern Area Coordination Center (EACC) to which Delaware belongs. In almost every year since 1998, the First State has fielded a team of trained firefighters to assist in wildfire containment, achieving a sterling reputation among national wildfire agencies thanks to its hardworking and knowledgeable personnel. As a sign of the depth of its training program, the Delaware Forest Service once dispatched 40 firefighters on a single assignment during a very busy fire season in 2007, a first for the agency. Most recently, Delaware sent a 20-man team on June 24 to the Weber Fire in southwestern Colorado that was eventually reassigned to the Arapaho Fire in the mountainous terrain near Wheatland, Wyoming – a blaze that burned more than 88,000 acres.
Delaware’s crew is a mixture of public agency employees, volunteer firefighters and private citizens with a keen interest in fighting wildfires. While many of the current crew members are veterans of multiple assignments – including 67-year-old John Cirafici of Milford – the team also includes first-timer Patrick Gilchrist of Townsend, DE.
All crew members must hold current “red-card” certification from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG), which involves completion of a set of core training courses, attendance at the DFS’ annual “Fire Camp” live-burn training session as well as a strenuous work capacity test in which participants must carry a 45-pound pack over a three-mile course in less than 45 minutes.
The current 20-man crew includes seven staff members from the Delaware Forest Service. In addition, Ashley Peebles of Harrington, the Delaware Forest Service’s Trainer-Educator who oversees the annual Smokey Bear fire prevention education program for schoolchildren, is also departing today to join the national firefighting effort on a two-week assignment as a field dispatcher in Idaho.
DFS Wildfire Crew Personnel List
|Glenn Gladders* (Crew Boss)||Dover|
|Timothy Moore||New Castle|
|Todd W. Shaffer||Atglen, PA|
|Samual Topper*||Federalsburg, MD|
|* denotes Delaware Forest Service employee|
Photo 2: Veteran firefighter Scott Veasey of Millsboro gets ready to load his gear for the trip out west to battle a wildfire near Twin Falls, Idaho as part of team of 20 firefighters trained by the Delaware Forest Service.
Photo 3: Volunteer firefighter Patrick Gilchrist of Townsend prepares to make his first trip with the Delaware wildland fire crew.
Photo 4: As they gather at Blackbird State Forest near Smyrna, the fire crew is briefed on their upcoming assignment to battle a blaze in Idaho.
Photo 5: Howard ‘Duke’ Harrison of Wilmington preps his gear for his 14-day assignment as part of the Delaware wildland fire crew.
Photo 6: (from left) Nathaniel Sommers of Smyrna listens to crew boss Glenn Gladders of Dover as Sam Topper of Federalsburg, MD looks on.
Photo 7: Nathaniel Sommers of Smyrna loads his gear on to the bus before the crew’s departure from Blackbird State Forest.
Video footage will be forthcoming on YouTube Channel: DelawareForests
More information on the web:
National Fire Information: http://www.nifc.gov