The Delaware Forest Service is sending a crew of 20 wildland firefighters to the Northern Rockies to help battle wildfires in the West as the National Fire Preparedness Level is now at the maximum of 5 on a 5-point scale. The team is flying from Harrisburg to Missoula, Montana (MSO) on Sunday, August 5. Delaware also sent a crew to the Rocky Mountains on July 3.
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.
The Delaware Forest Service is seeking new recruits for its upcoming wildfire training classes at the Delaware State Fire School (1461 Chestnut Grove Road, Dover, DE 19904). No previous experience is needed. Candidates should be over 18, physically fit, motivated to learn, and willing to travel for at least two weeks (usually during the summer) for out-of-state fire assignments. This year’s training will take place over two separate weekend sessions: The first is on October 21 and 22 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day (lunch included). The second is on November 4 and 5 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day (lunch included). The cost for each session is $50. Register by October 16 by contacting the State Fire School at (302) 739-4773 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Governor John C. Carney, Jr. and Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Delaware Forest Service and honored the wildfire crew that just returned from two weeks battling blazes in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. The crew, which left the First State on July 8 and returned on July 23, first tackled the 700-acre Wilson Fire near Meeker, Colorado – started by lightning on July 7. The firefighters then moved on to the Grizzly Fire before finishing up on the Dragon Fire – located just south of Rangely, Colorado. Delaware’s team included 17 state and federal firefighters from Delaware and three from West Virginia.
“The Forest Service has done unbelievable work over 90 years,” Governor Carney told the audience. “As we celebrate 98 years of the Delaware State Fair, we’ve got a lot of other milestones that are happening, including the recognition of Delaware’s state forestry service for 90 years of operation and their tremendous work.”
A wildfire crew from the Delaware Forest Service is now working on the 300-acre Wilson Fire, located 9 miles north of Meeker, Colorado in Rio Blanco County. Started by lightning on July 7, the blaze is currently 15 percent contained and is threatening oil and gas production equipment. Delaware’s crew is comprised of 17 firefighters from Delaware and three from West Virginia. The crew flew from Harrisburg, PA on Sunday to the Rocky Mountain region along with teams from Maryland, New Hampshire, and two crews from Pennsylvania.