DDA Forest Service seeks recruits for wildland fire training


The Delaware Forest Service's Sam Topper carefully surveys the edge of the fireline during a controlled burn. Topper has served on many out-of-state fire assignments for Delaware's crew.


Contact Henry Poole, (302) 698-4548
Email: henry.poole@delaware.gov


Do you have what it takes to be a wildland firefighter?

  • Do you like the outdoors and have a sense of adventure?
  • Would you like to help protect human lives, property, and precious natural resources during a national crisis?
  • Do you have the mental fortitude, physical stamina, and work flexibility to spend 14 days on a fireline far from your home?

(click here for link to Forest Service web page and more information)

If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, you can sign up for the Delaware Forest Service’s wildland fire training classes in January at the Delaware State Fire School. While it is not necessary to be affiliated with a volunteer fire company, candidates should be: at least 18 years of age, physically fit, and motivated to learn. Those without previous firefighting experience must contact Henry Poole, DFS Assistant Forestry Administrator, (302) 698-4548 before enrolling in the classes. The registration deadline is December 21, 2012.

The first series of classes will take place on Saturday, January 5 and Sunday, January 6 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day.

The second series of classes will be held on Saturday, January 19 and Sunday, January 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day. The cost of each two-day training is $50, payable to the “Delaware State Fire School”.

Link to Registration Form*(PDF)
Link to 2013 Training Schedule* (PDF)

Over the past ten years (2003 to 2012), an average of 70,639 wildfires have burned an estimated 7,414,500 acres of valuable land per year in the United States. Despite being a small state with a somewhat low risk of wildfire, Delaware has managed to achieve a sizable reputation on the national firefighting scene because it regularly dispatches teams of trained and experienced personnel to battle wildfires in the West. The First State has also fielded crews to aid in other national or regional emergencies, such as serving on hurricane relief crews in Florida and New York.


Delaware joined volunteers from West Virginia to assist FEMA in 2011 after Hurricane Irene devastated New England.

Daryl Trotman is a volunteer firefighter from Ellendale who is a veteran member of Delaware's wildland firefighting crew.


To continue fulfilling its important mission, the Delaware Forest Service is always looking for motivated individuals to sign up for its annual training classes at the Delaware State Fire School in Dover that can lead to “red card” certification from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG).  In order to complete the NWCG requirements, candidates must also pass a work capacity test in which they cover three miles with a 45-pound pack in less than 45 minutes, as well as attend the DFS’ annual “Fire Camp” – an intensive one-day seminar featuring a hands-on “live burn.”

In June of 2012, Delaware dispatched a 20-person crew to fight a wildfire in southwestern Colorado and was eventually transferred to a large blaze burning in Wyoming. Later in the summer, the Forest Service dispatched a second 20-person crew to fight a wildfire near Twin Falls, Idaho. In addition, several Delaware volunteers also joined with crews from other states to serve on other wildfire assignments or served in field offices or dispatch centers to help guide manpower and resources to the firefighting effort.


The Delaware Forest Service's Glenn "Dode" Gladders of Dover led one of the 20-person crews that fought fires in the western United States in 2012.