The Delaware Forest Service is sending a 20-person wildfire crew to Colorado’s Rocky Mountain region as more uncontained large fires in the West has increased the demand for trained firefighters. The National Fire Preparedness Level was increased to 3 on a 5-point scale on June 29, indicating that wildfire activity is occurring in multiple geographic areas and mobilization of resources through national agencies is moderate to heavy.
The crew mobilized on Tuesday, July 3 at Blackbird State Forest in Smyrna, Delaware and will travel to Denver from Philadelphia on July 4 for positioning in the Rocky Mountain Geographic Area, which has reported 5 new fires and currently has 6 uncontained large fires. Nationally, 66 fires are currently burning a total of 578,424 acres. As of July 3, a total of 277 wildfire crews are currently deployed across all regions of the U.S. and wildfire activity is expected to increase.
In late-June, Delaware’s forests get an annual “physical” or “check-up” – just after spring’s “leaf-out” blankets the state in a wave of green color. Just as people should visit the doctor to be screened for potential diseases, trees are examined with a variety of tools to hopefully spot minor issues before they turn into major ones.
Armed with a digital camera, GPS technology, and a tablet equipped with specialized software and satellite data, forest health specialist Bill Seybold boards a small plane for a sky-high view of the First State. The annual aerial survey is specifically designed to detect potential threats that can only be seen from the air. Fortunately, early results from the 2018 aerial forest survey indicate no major outbreaks of tree diseases or insect pests.
A partnership with the Delaware State Police and the Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police is helping the Delaware Forest Service reopen its historic picnic pavilion at Redden State Forest that was closed in early 2017 due to persistent illegal activity. The parking lot and rest area – popular with hikers and horseback riders – now features bright lighting, 24-hour video surveillance, and regular patrols by both marked and undercover law enforcement personnel. Along with these enhanced security measures, new signage reminds visitors that the site is closed from dusk to dawn.
Woodbridge High School’s FFA took the top spot at the 2018 Forestry Career Development Event (CDE) held in Camden, Delaware this week. Woodbridge was followed by Middletown, Smyrna, and Sussex Central. Woodbridge will now go on to represent Delaware at the 91st Annual FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis from October 24 to 27, 2018. For the first time, the 2018 challenge included a total of eight middle and high school teams competing in separate events at the same location. Smyrna Middle School’s FFA took first place in their event, beating out teams from Walters Middle School (Appoquinimink), Meredith Middle School (Appoquinimink) and Millsboro Middle School.
Governor John C. Carney, Jr. presided over the Delaware Forest Service’s 2018 Arbor Day Celebration at DNERR St. Jones Reserve in Dover on Friday, May 4.
Joined by Rep. Harvey Kenton, Rep. David Wilson, Agriculture Secretary Michael T. Scuse, and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin, Governor Carney honored the winners of the Delaware Forest Service’s Arbor Day School Poster Contest, including Statewide Winner Amelia Meyer of Southern Delaware School of the Arts in Selbyville. The 2018 poster contest theme was “Trees are Terrific… and Perfect for Pollinators!” The Governor also recognized representatives from some of Delaware’s 17 Tree City USA communities, including Dover Air Force Base and Arden. The event culminated with the planting of two new hawthorn trees, part of a new “science garden” at the reserve, in keeping the 2018 poster contest theme and its focus on pollinators.