Delaware’s wildfire crew returns to the First State this week after wrapping up a successful two-week assignment fighting blazes in northern Idaho’s Panhandle National Forests. The crew is scheduled to be back at Blackbird State Forest on Thursday, August 23, at approximately 6:15 p.m.
The Delaware Forest Service dispatched the team of 20 wildland firefighters to Montana on August 4 and the crew was immediately sent to northern Idaho to fight the Copper Mountain Fire, situated on the Canadian border. This past week, the crew battled the Cougar Fire, a 5,880-acre blaze burning in steep rugged terrain located approximately 5 miles east of Hope, Idaho.
Twenty wildland firefighters from Delaware are battling the Copper Mountain Fire, a 180-acre blaze located four miles east of Eastport, Idaho on the Canadian border that is 20% contained as of August 12. Delaware’s crew comprises part of the 137 personnel currently assigned to the incident. Michael A. Valenti of Dover, Delaware’s state forester and crew boss for the team, reports that firefighters are working in rough terrain and completing very long hikes to and from the fire each day.
The Delaware Forest Service is sending a crew of 20 wildland firefighters to the Northern Rockies to help battle wildfires in the West as the National Fire Preparedness Level is now at the maximum of 5 on a 5-point scale. The team is flying from Harrisburg to Missoula, Montana (MSO) on Sunday, August 5. Delaware also sent a crew to the Rocky Mountains on July 3.
Shawn Patrick Mitchell of Greenwood, a recent graduate of Sussex Tech who plans to study wildlife and fisheries at Frostburg State University, received the Delaware Forestry Association’s 2018 scholarship at the Delaware State Fair last week. Agriculture Secretary Michael T. Scuse and Governor John C. Carney were there to present the ceremonial check to Mitchell as his parents David and Melissa looked on. Once he earns his bachelor’s of science degree, Mitchell hopes to be a game warden or park ranger one day.
Ashley Melvin, the Delaware Forest Service’s education specialist who directs its successful Smokey Bear fire prevention program, received a Gold Smokey Award in Ohio recently at an annual meeting of state foresters. The award was presented to the Mid-Atlantic Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact’s education committee, of which Delaware is a member. The compact is comprised of seven states including Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
In the world of wildfire prevention, there is no greater honor than to receive a Smokey Bear award, especially the national Gold Smokey award. These special awards are reserved for people or organizations that provide sustained, outstanding service, with significant program impact, in the wildfire prevention arena. Honorees demonstrate innovation, creativity, commitment and passion for wildfire prevention.