Delaware Forest Service offers free wildfire training


DFS Fire Brochure
Wildland Fire Program Brochure

DOVER, Del. — The Delaware Forest Service is looking for motivated recruits to enroll in wildfire training classes starting in February at the Delaware Department of Agriculture, 2320 S. DuPont Highway, Camden, DE. There is no cost for training and no previous experience needed. Classes will be held over two weekends: February 1 and 2, and February 15 and 16, 2020. Candidates must be over 18, physically fit, and able to travel for at least two weeks, usually in the summer. Attendance at all classes is required to achieve “red card” certification from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG).

Students can register by filling out the online registration form by January 31, 2020. Complete details are at

Students who complete the core set of courses (listed below) are eligible to attend “Fire Camp,” an intensive, hands-on, one-day seminar held in the spring of 2020. Students must also complete a “work capacity” or “pack test” – carrying a 45-pound pack over a three-mile course in 45 minutes or less – to receive their NWCG “red card” and participate on out-of-state fire assignments.

While all firefighters volunteer for out-of-state assignments, all positions are fully paid: A typical 16-day tour of duty will usually average between 220 and 250 working hours or about $4500 for an entry-level FFT2 position (firefighter Type 2).

Core Courses

  • S-190: Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior  (Saturday, February 1)
  • S-130: Firefighter Training (Sunday, February 2) plus (Saturday, February 15, and Sunday, February 16)

Prerequisites *

* Students must pass two prerequisite courses before classes and bring course completion certification certificates with them on the first day. These are online (below) at the FEMA website.

  • ICS-100 – Introduction to the Incident Command System
  • IS-700 – An Introduction to the National Incident Management System

For more information, call 302-698-4548      Email: Kyle Hoyd

Delaware fire crew in California


Every year, millions of acres of forests across the United States are ravaged by wildfire. But thanks to a training program by the Delaware Forest Service, citizens from across the First State can qualify to serve on national fire crews. Since 1996, the Delaware Forest Service has trained more than 600 volunteer firefighters, and now every fire season deploys 20-person crews for out-of-state wildfire assignments.

Delaware’s program is growing and in need of additional firefighters who are interested in assisting the national effort to control and contain devastating wildfires. Delaware used to send only one crew a year, but now can send multiple crews. In 2018, Delaware sent crews to Colorado and Idaho, as well as engine crews to California.

Do you have what it takes to join the Wildfire Crew?

Download the Wildland Fire Program Brochure

Frequently Asked Questions:

Eligible crew members must be 18 years or older, complete all four training courses (see below), pass a work-capacity pack test, be willing to travel for at least two weeks, have a commitment to serving the public and work well with others.

Each year, the Delaware Forest Service offers courses required for certification under the National Wildfire Coordinating Group guidelines:

  • ICS-100, Introduction to Incident Command System (completed online)
  • IS-700, Introduction to National Incident Management System (completed online)
  • S-130 Firefighter Training
  • S-190 Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior
  • In addition, an annual work capacity (physical fitness) test is required. To qualify, you must carry a 45-pound pack over a three-mile course in under 45 minutes. A health screen questionnaire must be completed prior to taking the test. The capstone of the training series is an annual “Fire Camp” featuring hands-on instruction on a “live-burn” simulation.

Delaware wildland fire crews have worked on assignments in many states, including California, Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

  • Camaraderie: You will be part of a well-organized and highly efficient team of dedicated wildland firefighters with whom you will share unique life experiences.
  • Adventure: No two assignments are exactly alike, but you can be sure that the crew will work in a picturesque area with challenging terrain features that offer spectacular vistas.
  • Experience: Your newly-acquired wildland fire knowledge and skills will improve your effectiveness in in-state incidents, including fire in the wildland/urban area.
  • NIMS Compliance: All firefighters work under the Incident Command System, and you will see first-hand how this system operates on a large scale.
  • Leadership: Advanced training for future roles at the squad boss and crew boss level are available for interested firefighters.
  • Financial Gain: Every firefighter position is fully paid. A typical 16-day tour of duty will usually average between 220 and 250 working hours.

Contact the Delaware Forest Service at (302) 698-4500, or write to 2320 South DuPont Highway, Dover, DE 19901.



Fire Camp at Blackbird State Forest on March 30

Controlled burn at Fire Camp
A “live” burn will take place at the Delaware Forest Service’s annual “Fire Camp” at Blackbird State Forest on Saturday, March 30.

SMYRNA, Del. — The Delaware Forest Service will host its “23rd Annual Fire Camp” event at Blackbird State Forest (502 Blackbird Forest Road, Smyrna DE 19977) on Saturday, March 30 from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The intensive one-day seminar is the capstone of the agency’s wildfire training program to certify its emergency firefighters to meet National Wildfire Coordinating Group standards. Last year, the Delaware Forest Service dispatched crews to Colorado and Idaho as the National Preparedness Level climbed to its maximum level of 5.

Delaware "Fire camp" crew meeting

The Delaware Forest Service’s Fire Camp fosters teamwork and unit cohesion among wildfire crew members.In addition to completing an arduous “work capacity test” – which involves carrying a 45-pound pack over a three-mile course in less than 45 minutes – crew members will receive hands-on instruction in several key areas: wildfire suppression techniques, how weather affects fire behavior, crew mobilization and teamwork, water pumps, and chainsaw usage. The event culminates with a “live” controlled burn fire situation.

Due to the event, state forest visitors should be aware that parking at the picnic pavilion and trail head areas on the Tybout Tract will be very limited. The training event will involve fire equipment and vehicles, chainsaws, and a planned burn exercise in the afternoon that will likely cause smoke in the area. Access to many areas will be restricted and/or congested. It is strongly recommended that recreation activities be moved to other State Forest properties. Horse trailers are advised to use the Reynolds farm parking area off of Van Dyke–Greenspring Road. Please call 302-653-6505 with questions.

Media contact: John Petersen
Delaware Forest Service
302-698-4552 (office) 302-233-8180 (cell)


Delaware Forest Service looks to increase wildfire crews for upcoming fire season

DOVER, Del. – The Delaware Forest Service is looking to increase its wildfire crews for the upcoming season through training for new recruits. During the 2018 wildfire season, Delaware sent two full crews out to Colorado, Idaho, and Montana to be first responders.

Interested recruits should be over 18 years old, physically fit, motivated, and willing to travel out-of-state for at least two weeks during the summer on fire assignments. No previous experience is needed, but recruits are required to complete ICS-100 (Introduction to the Incident Command System) and IS-700 (An Introduction to the National Incident Management System), available online, prior to reporting for training.

“The Delaware Forest Service has trained more than 400 wildland firefighters through our program. Delaware crews are in high demand for initial attack because of their Type II-IA crew status,” said Kyle Hoyd, DFS Wildland Fire Program Administrator. “We are able to deploy a full crew, with several of our firefighters able to take on leadership roles within the Incident Command System.”

All trainees must complete the following courses on two separate weekend sessions:
1) S-190: Intro to Wildfire Behavior – October 20 (Sat.) – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2) S-130: Basic Wildland Firefighting – October 21 (Sun.), November 3 and 4 (Sat. and Sun.) – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day
Courses are held at the Delaware State Fire School, 1461 Chestnut Grove Road, Dover, DE 19904 (302) 739-4773.

Applicants should register by October 16 by contacting the Delaware State Fire School at (302) 739-4773 or email: Website: Those with no prior experience can contact Kyle Hoyd, DFS Wildland Fire Program Administrator, at (302) 698-4548 or for more information.

Both S-190 and S-130 are required for prospective firefighters to attain “red-card” certification from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG). In addition to the basic coursework, candidates must also complete an arduous “work capacity” or “pack test,” which involves carrying a 45-pound pack over a three-mile course in less than 45 minutes. This is held in conjunction with the annual Wildfire Burn Camp held in early spring, where those recruits who have passed all the training will test their skills and knowledge during a live prescribed burn using tools and equipment typically used during western wildfires. Students will practice wildland suppression tactics in the simulated wildfire while working within the Incident Command System to prepare for deployment.

Delaware wildfire crewDelaware has been mobilizing crews and individual resources to serve on out-of-state assignments since the late-1990s. Delaware firefighters have traveled to Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.


Media Contact: John Petersen, 302-698-4552,

Delaware wildfire crew wraps up successful assignment

Delaware wildfire crew
Delaware’s wildfire after completing their final shift on Division Alpha of the Cougar Fire. The crew are shown on the banks of Lightning Creek in Idaho.

DOVER, Del.  — Delaware’s wildfire crew returns to the First State this week after wrapping up a successful two-week assignment fighting blazes in Idaho’s Panhandle National Forests region.  The crew is scheduled to be back at Blackbird State Forest in Smyrna on Thursday, August 23, at approximately 6:00 p.m.

Delaware firefighters (from left) Ryan Krammes of Newark, Dan Mihok of Magnolia, and Jeff Wilson of Clayton.

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. While there, the crew stayed in the somewhat primitive conditions of “spike camp” and ate MRE’s (meals ready-to-eat). 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. The fire was only 26% contained as of August 22. The National Fire Preparedness Level remains at 5 on a 5-point scale. The Incident Management Situation Report for August 22 shows that 105 active incidents are now burning a total of 1.85 million acres. There are currently 513 wildfire crews on assignment, along with 1,387 engines and a total of 25,583 personnel committed.

For more information, contact Kyle Hoyd, Delaware Wildland Fire Program, at 302-698-4548, or 

Delaware wildfire crew in Idaho
Delaware’s crew completes their last shift on Idaho’s Cougar Fire. The team is expected to return to the First State on Thursday, August 23.



Delaware wildfire crew on Idaho’s Copper Mountain Fire


Delaware wildfire crew
Delaware’s crew tackles a flare-up on Division Tango of the 180-acre Copper Mountain Fire in northern Idaho near the Canadian border.

Twenty wildland firefighters from Delaware are part of 137 personnel battling the Copper Mountain Fire, a 180-acre blaze located four miles east of Eastport, Idaho on the Canadian border.  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 crew is staying in the relatively primitive conditions of a spike camp near the incident and eating MRE’s (Meals Ready-to-Eat). A “spike camp” is a remote camp near a fireline that lacks the logistical support of a larger fire camp, such as catered meals and hot showers.

Delaware wildfire crew on fire line in Idaho.
Delaware’s crew hikes back to its spike camp after a long day on the line at the Copper Mountain Fire in northern Idaho on the Canadian border. The 180-acre blaze was started by lightning on August 2.

The Copper Mountain Fire is a lightning-caused blaze burning in timber that started on August 2. The fire is only 20% contained as of August 13 and is being managed by a Type 3 incident management team led by Rod Weeks. Firefighters are continuing line construction on both flanks of the fire and attempting to hold existing line. Fire officials are also coordinating with the British Columbia Wildfire Service on suppression efforts.

For more information on the Delaware wildfire crew, contact Kyle Hoyd,, 302-698-4548.