Delaware Wildfire Training Classes Offered Online

Delaware has sent its wildfire crew to battle blazes in the West for many years. The team was on California’s Fork Complex in 2015.

 

DOVER, Del. — The Delaware Forest Service (DFS) is always looking for motivated recruits to join its wildland fire crew. There is no cost for training and no previous experience necessary. Candidates must be over 18 years, willing to learn, physically fit, and able to travel for at least two weeks at a time, usually in the summer months. In 2020, Delaware sent its Type 2IA crew to battle blazes in Arizona and California.

In a typical year, the DFS would offer its in-person classes over several weekends in Dover. This year, all required courses for new firefighters will be offered online through the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) and Federal Emergency Management Agency websites. The complete list of courses and links to online training are at https://de.gov/firecrew

Students must complete all courses and submit printed certificates by March 19 to:

Kyle Hoyd
Delaware Forest Service
2320 S. DuPont Highway
Dover, DE 19901
kyle.hoyd@delaware.gov

“The fact that training is completely online this year might be a good option for candidates who were unable to take in-person classes in previous years because of their schedule,” said Kyle Hoyd, the Delaware Forest Service’s assistant forestry administrator who oversees its wildfire program. “Later in the spring, we hope to bring new and veteran firefighters together for our annual “Fire Camp” event. It’s an important training exercise where we go through a “live-burn” simulation and practice the proper tactics and safety measures for successfully fighting wildfires.”

Courses are listed below, with links to NWCG and FEMA websites.

Core Classes

Prerequisite Courses *

Students must also pass two FEMA prerequisite courses:

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

* You may need to set up a FEMA ID if you have not previously registered.

Students who complete the entire set of courses will be eligible to attend “Fire Camp,” a one-day hands-on seminar featuring a “live-burn” fire simulation. Exact date TBD.

Students must also complete an arduous “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.


Delaware Wildfire Crew Wraps Up Successful Assignment

Delaware’s wildfire crew visited the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Park in Yarnell, AZ. The site commemorates the 19 firefighters lost in the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire and featured in the 2017 film, “Only the Brave.”   Front Row: (from left) Edward Boyer of Ellendale, Sam Topper of Maryland, Connor Terry of Virginia, David Pro of Newark, Mark Kammer of Magnolia, and Todd Shaffer of Maryland. Back Row: (from left) Mark Lasocha of Dover, Scott Veasey of Millsboro, Bart Wilson of Wilmington, Brian Jennings of Harrington, Adam Keever of Newark, Christopher Valenti of Dover, James Charney of Felton, Michael Valenti of Dover, Robert Young of Townsend, Bradley Melson of Milford, Nathan Shampine of Hockessin, Zachary Brown of Harbeson, William Seybold of Dover, Hunter Melson of Milford, and Erich Burkentine of Milton.

 
SMYRNA, Del. (Sept. 17, 2020) — Delaware’s wildfire crew is returning to the First State after successfully battling blazes on a 14-day assignment in Arizona and California. Delaware’s 21-person team mobilized at Blackbird State Forest in Smyrna on August 28. On August 30 they were assigned to the Griffin Fire, a 61,821-acre blaze in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest in the U.S. Forest Service’s Southwest Region. They subsequently took on the Rockhouse Fire, a 19,506-acre blaze located on land managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ San Carlos Agency, 22 miles southeast of San Carlos, AZ.

Adam Keever of Newark is a veteran of the Delaware wildfire crew and is shown here with his chainsaw next to a giant cactus on the Rockhouse Fire in Arizona..

On September 9, they were transferred to the Southern California Geographic Area and assigned to the Valley Fire, which consumed 17,665 acres in the Cleveland National Forest, 19 miles northeast of Chula Vista, CA. Less than 40 percent contained when Delaware’s crew arrived, the Valley Fire is now over 90 percent contained and many evacuation orders and restrictions have been lifted. As a Type 2 Initial Attack crew (T2-IA), Delaware’s crew worked on Division Alpha, going direct on the fire line and cold trailing along its edge. The steep and rugged terrain was challenging and required the crew to be transported by helicopter to their division, as shown in the video below (click here for file download link). The crew is expected to arrive back at Blackbird State Forest in Smyrna by Friday afternoon, September 18.

Contact: Kyle Hoyd, Assistant State Forester, (302) 698-4548 or (302) 943-7869 (cell) or email: kyle.hoyd@delaware.gov.

Watch this video from Delaware’s wildfire crew on California’s Valley Fire:

 


Delaware Sends Wildfire Crew to New Mexico

Delaware Type 2IA crew:
Front Row: Edward Boyer of Ellendale, David Pro of Newark, Todd Shaffer of Maryland, Zachary Brown of Harbeson, Sam Topper of Maryland, and Adam Keever of Newark. Second Row: Erich Burkentine of Milton, Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) Secretary Michael T. Scuse, Michael Valenti of Dover, Brian Jennings of Harrington, Connor Terry of Virginia, Christopher Valenti of Dover, Robert Young of Townsend, William Seybold of Dover, Nathan Shampine of Hockessin, Bart Wilson of Wilmington, and Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. Back Row: Mark Kammer of Magnolia, James Charney of Felton, Hunter Melson of Milford, Scott Veasey of Millsboro, Mark Lasocha of Dover, and Bradley Melson of Milford.

DOVER, Del. – The Delaware Forest Service is sending its wildfire crew to New Mexico as a steep increase in lightning-caused fires has pushed the National Preparedness Level to 5 on a 5-point scale, its highest level. Critical fire weather continues throughout the West. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the majority of the fire activity remains in Arizona and California, where over 1.5 million acres have burned. So far this year, more than 38,767 fires have burned 3.7 million acres.

Delaware has trained more than 600 firefighters since 1996 and battled wildfires in numerous states, including: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, California, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. http://de.gov/wildfire

For more information, contact Kyle Hoyd at kyle.hoyd@delaware.gov.

More photos at: https://www.facebook.com/delforestservice 


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 de.gov/wildfire.

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)
john.petersen@delaware.gov