Delaware dispatches 20 wildland firefighters to battle blaze in Idaho

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 (, 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

Name Hometown
Glenn Gladders* (Crew Boss) Dover
Howard Harrison Wilmington
Scott Veasey Millsboro
Timothy Moore New Castle
Daryl Trotman* Ellendale
Brian Ward Houston
Jeffery Wilson Clayton
Todd W. Shaffer Atglen, PA
Patrick Gilchrist Townsend
John Cirafici Milford
Chris Skrobot Claymont
Stephen Johnas Wilmington
Nathaniel Sommers Smyrna
Jonathan Richardville Wilmington
Matthew Herrold Pennsylvania
Michael Sethman* Middletown
Guy Cooper* Frankford
Henry Poole* Townsend
Todd Gsell* Townsend
Samual Topper* Federalsburg, MD
* denotes Delaware Forest Service employee

Scott Veasey of Millsboro

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.

Patrick Gilchrist of Townsend











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.

Delaware wildland fire crew briefing

Photo 5
: Howard ‘Duke’ Harrison of Wilmington preps his gear for his 14-day assignment as part of the Delaware wildland fire crew.

Howard 'Duke' Harrison of Wilmington

Photo 6: (from left) Nathaniel Sommers of Smyrna listens to crew boss Glenn Gladders of Dover as Sam Topper of Federalsburg, MD looks on.

from left: Nathaniel Sommers of Smyrna, Glenn Gladders of Dover, Sam Topper of Federalsburg, MD

Photo 7: Nathaniel Sommers of Smyrna loads his gear on to the bus before the crew’s departure from Blackbird State Forest.

Nathaniel Sommers of Smyrna

Video footage will be forthcoming on YouTube Channel: DelawareForests

More information on the web:
National Fire Information:

Delaware Forest Service’s 2012 Urban Forestry Grant Program is now accepting applications.

July 9, 2012

Contact: Marcia Fox – DFS Urban and Community Forestry Outreach Coordinator, (302) 535-7543, or

Delaware Forest Service Urban and Community Grant Program

The Delaware Forest Service is now accepting applications for its annual Urban & Community Forestry Grant Program, which has awarded over $1 million to more than 200 Delaware communities and organizations since the program’s inception in 1991.  Municipalities and homeowner groups can apply for up to $5000 in matched funding for projects that increase tree canopy, develop and implement tree management plans, remove hazardous trees or use trees to mitigate storm water runoff. Each applicant must match its grant on a 50-50 cost-share basis with either nonfederal funds or in-kind services (volunteer time, staff time, etc.).

Complete details are available at

The application deadline is August 1, 2012. No email or fax submissions will be accepted.

For more information, contact Marcia Fox at 302-659-6704 or

Mail completed grant forms to:
Urban and Community Forestry Program
2320 South DuPont Highway
Dover, DE 19901

Photo: A tree planting project in Middlesex Beach was completed in partnership with the Delaware Forest Service’s annual Urban and Community Forestry Grant program. Applications for this year’s funds are now being accepted through August 1, 2012. Details at

Delaware’s wildland fire crew battling large blaze in Wyoming

July 3, 2012

Contact: Henry Poole, Delaware Forest Service Fire Program Administrator, 302-698-4548

Daryl Trotman of Ellendale is working with the Delaware wildland fire crew as they battle Wyoming's massive 88,000-acre Arapaho Fire (Photo by Glenn Gladders, Delaware Forest Service)

Delaware's fire crew attacks the Arapaho Fire in Wyoming. Photo from left: Jeffery Wilson of Clayton, Adam Keever of Port Penn, Todd Gsell of Townsend, Michael Krumrine of Magnolia, Brian Ward of Houston, and Erich Burkentine of Milton work the edge of the fireline on Wyoming's Arapaho Fire, a roughly 88,000-acre blaze that is only 10 percent contained. (Photo by Glenn Gladders, Delaware Forest Service)

Delaware's crew is participating in burnout operations on Division Y of the Arapaho Fire in Wyoming. (Photo by Glenn Gladders, Delaware Forest Service)


Twenty wildland firefighters from Delaware who battled fires in Colorado for the past week are now assigned to the massive Arapaho Fire located 28 miles northwest of Wheatland, Wyoming.

Sam Topper (center) of the Delaware Forest Service is shown working at the Arapaho Fire in Wyoming. (Photo by Glenn Gladders, Delaware Forest Service).

The large blaze is considered “dangerous” by fire officials on the scene and is currently estimated at almost 88,000 acres in size with only 10 perecent containment. Officials say the fire has the potential for rapid growth due to the hot and dry weather conditions in the region. Delaware’s crew is conducting burnout operations in Division Y of the massive blaze.

As a helicopter hovers overhead, Delaware's fire crew attacks the edge of the massive Arapaho Fire located 28 miles northwest of Wheatland, Wyoming. (Photo by Glenn Gladders, Delaware Forest Service)

Arapaho Fire Public Information Office – 307-298-0556

The Arapaho Fire is currently 87,984 acres as of an infrared flight Monday night. Some structures have been destroyed but the area is still too dangerous to allow a detailed assessment. Structure protection groups remain in place 24 hours a day. Aviation resources continue to assist on the fire as the weather and winds allow. 
Hot and dry weather conditions will continue today(07/03/2012) creating the potential for large fire growth.

There will be a public meeting on July 3rd at 6:30pm at the Douglas Middle School in Douglas.

Incident Type – Wildfire
Cause – Under Investigation
Date of Origin – Wednesday June 27th, 2012 approx. 10:35 PM
Location – 28 miles NW of Wheatland, WY
Incident Commander – Mike Morcom

Total Personnel – 575
Size – 87,984 acres
Percent Contained – 10%

Fire Behavior – Fire exhibited high spread rates with group torching and medium range spotting

Significant Events – Evacuations remain in effect. An assessment of lost structures is beginning as fire conditions allow. Crews continue to be successful with burn out operations in areas where the fire has moved into lighter fuels on the eastern and southern perimeters. Crews continue with structure protection where needed. Numerous road closures remain in effect.

Planned Actions –
Continue structure protection and evacuations as necessary. Continue to construct indirect line and secondary lines due to extreme fire behavior. Hold and mop up established lines

Growth Potential – Extreme

Terrain Difficulty – Extreme

Remarks – Transfer of command to Mike Morcom’s Type 1 PNW2 team took place on 7/1/2012 at 2000. Incident costs(Block 19) and Committed Resources(Block 43) have not been updated from yesterday. Structures lost(Block 24) is an estimate at this time.

Current Weather
Wind Conditions 11 mph NW
Temperature 79 degrees
Humidity 35%

Delaware’s 20 wildland firefighters now battling Colorado’s Pine Ridge Fire

July 2, 2012

Contact: Henry Poole, Delaware Forest Service Fire Program Administrator, 302-698-4548

Delaware’s crew of 20 wildland firefighters is now assigned to the Pine Ridge Fire, located 13 miles northeast of Grand Junction, Colorado along the Colorado River. The fire began on June 27 and is currently estimated at 13,360 acres with 35 percent containment.

 Photo (from left): Michael Krumrine of Magnolia, Brian Ward of Houston, and Adam Keever of Port Penn work on extinguishing hotspots and flareups on the Weber Fire in southwestern Colorado. Delaware’s 20-man crew is now assigned to the Pine Ridge Fire located 13 miles NE of Grand Junction, Colorado. (Photo by Glenn Gladders, Delaware Forest Service)

Latest updates:

Current Situation: Crews were successful in meeting yesterday’s priority objectives, which included keeping fire from crossing the Colorado River and south of Shale Ridge. Containment lines are looking good with hard work from fire crews and aviation support. Personnel on the west side of the fire are building line in a northerly direction to connect with the existing fireline on the north flank.

Containment was reached on the east side of the fire along the Colorado River and I-70 corridor including the northeast corner. The Union Pacific Railroad assisted with equipment and water transportation yesterday which allowed crews to work on line construction more quickly.

Helicopters cooled hot spots in steep inaccessable areas and held fire along the perimeter so crews could construct direct fireline.

Today crews and engines will patrol the east, north and west flanks of the fire and continue mop-up operations. On the south side of the fire, crews will go direct and work to connect the fireline with the east and west flanks. Shifting winds are expected today which can make fire behavior unpredictible.

Basic Information

Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Lightning
Date of Origin Wednesday June 27th, 2012 approx. 01:57 PM
Location 13 miles E of Grand Junction along the Colorado River
Incident Commander Bill Hahnenberg

Current Situation

Total Personnel 422
Size 13,360 acres
Percent Contained 35%
Estimated Containment Date Monday July 09th, 2012 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved Pinyon-Juniper, sage brush
Fire Behavior Isolated torching and short range spotting.
Significant Events Bill Hahnenberg’s Type 1 Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team assumed command of the fire at 6:00 a.m., June 30.


Planned Actions Completed burnout reducing the threat of fire spread to thenorth. Monday, July 2- Continue reinforcing north line. Construct direct and indirect line on south flank.
Growth Potential Extreme – Fire can be expected to continue isolated torching and backing with interior islands burning out. This will produce smoke in some sections of the fire. Fire continues to threaten the community of DeBeque & I-70 Corridor.
Terrain Difficulty Rugged inaccessible terrain and a continous heavy fuel loading is causing a high resistance to control.
Remarks Fire acres are updated each morning following nightly infraed flights and may be different than the acreage reflected on the 209 information.

Current Weather

Wind Conditions 12 mph SW
Temperature 90 degrees
Humidity 10%