Delaware’s Type 2IA wildfire crew is headed to the Northern Rockies to join the national firefighting effort. The team of 20 firefighters departed Blackbird State Forest and is traveling by ground transportation to Montana for an eventual assignment in that region. This is the crew’s first assignment of 2021. Last year, Delaware sent a 20-person crew to fight blazes in Arizona and California. Delaware’s team is a mix of veterans and rookies, drawn from both public agencies and the private sector, who completed their certification by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. After four days of travel, the crew will complete a planned 14-day assignment before returning to the First State.
Delaware’s Type 6 engine and three-man crew are part of 313 personnel currently fighting the Oil Springs Fire, located 20 miles south of Rangely, Colorado. The fire was started by lightning on June 18 and has grown to 12, 613 acres with only 18 percent containment. Delaware’s crew is working on one of the fire’s priority areas, Division D, which involves the continued protection of the Dragon Trail Compressor Site. The fire is spreading moderately in a mixture of pinyon, juniper and sagebrush.
Delaware’s crew is comprised of engine boss Samual Topper of Maryland, engine boss trainee Adam Keever of Newark, and FFT2 Bradley Melson of Milford. The crew mobilized from Blackbird State Forest last week and started work on Saturday, June 26.
Visitors to Delaware state forests can now use a mobile phone to locate trails, hunting stands, or parking areas using the Avenza Maps® mobile app (available for iPhone or Android devices from the App Store or Google Play.) All state forest maps are free to download. The app uses the phone’s built-in GPS to locate it on the map, even when the device is out of range of a network or Internet connection. Users can select a particular map of interest, which can be downloaded and stored on their phone. A blue dot follows users wherever they go so they always know where they are on the map. More info at de.gov/forestmaps
Delaware’s state forest campsites are now open to the public under a new online system that allows for advance booking and preferred site selection. Primitive-style camping is available 365 days a year on a first-come, first-serve basis at both Blackbird State Forest, north of Smyrna, and Redden State Forest, north of Georgetown. The cost per night is $25 per site (plus a small administrative fee) with a three night maximum stay per reservation. Each state forest has added two new sites for a total of eight (8) at Blackbird and seven (7) at Redden. All camping requires a permit and is subject to state forest rules and regulations. Complete information, maps, camping rules, and links to make a reservation are available at de.gov/forestcamping.
To limit the potential spread of the Coronavirus, the Delaware Forest Service is announcing the following actions, effective immediately: The Lodge at Redden State Forest will be closed to the public until further notice. All campsites at Redden and Blackbird State Forests will be closed to the public until further notice. All large gatherings (>25 people) scheduled for any of the State Forests will be cancelled. State Forests will remain open to the general public for the time being for outdoor activities such as hiking, bird watching, horseback riding, etc.