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: fire.school@delaware.gov. Website: statefireschool.delaware.gov. Those with no prior experience can contact Kyle Hoyd, DFS Wildland Fire Program Administrator, at (302) 698-4548 or kyle.hoyd@delaware.gov 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.

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Media Contact: John Petersen, 302-698-4552, John.Petersen@delaware.gov


Delaware sends wildfire crew to Great Basin region

SMYRNA – Responding to a spike in wildfire activity in the West that has increased the National Fire Preparedness Level to 4 on a 5-point scale, Delaware has joined forces with neighboring Mid-Atlantic states to dispatch a module of five crews, a total of 100 firefighters, to battle fires for the Great Basin’s Geographic Area Coordination Center. The crews departed Harrisburg, PA on August 25 and flew to Salt Lake City, Utah.  Delaware has been assigned to the Henry’s Creek Fire near Idaho Falls, Idaho, which was listed at 52,511 acres in size and 37% contained. A total of 350 personnel are currently assigned to the incident. http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4982/

As an example of the pressing need for firefighters and equipment, the Pioneer Fire in Idaho alone has scorched more than 100,000 acres and was only 38 percent contained on August 25. More than 1,800 fire personnel were battling the fire that had already cost more than $66 million. Five crews from the East are already assigned to that major incident.

This is the second crew that Delaware has sent out this summer. The Delaware Forest Service dispatched firefighters to Colorado on July 25. They battled the 492-acre Milk Fire near Craig, Colorado and the 1,287-acre Tokewanna Fire near Mountain View, Wyoming. They finished up on the 12,276-acre Whit Fire, east of Yellowstone National Park near Cody, Wyoming.

Contact: Kyle Hoyd, Delaware Forest Service, (302) 698-4548 or kyle.hoyd@delaware.gov.

Photos on the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Flickr Page: https://www.flickr.com/gp/agriculturede/AKH4A9

For more information or updates on the Delaware crew, follow @DelWildfire or @DelForestService on Facebook.

From left to right: Erich Burkentine of Milton; Mark Kammer of Magnolia; Chris Sturm of Woodside; Allen Austin Gardner-Bowler of Milford; Mike Valenti of Dover; Edward Boyer of Milton; Jim Charney of Felton; Dan Mihok of Camden; Bart Wilson of Dover; Matt Dotterer of Milton; Jeff Wilson of Clayton; Guy Cooper of Millville; and, Nathaniel Sommers of Smyrna.
From left to right: Erich Burkentine of Milton; Mark Kammer of Magnolia; Chris Sturm of Woodside; Allen Austin Gardner-Bowler of Milford; Mike Valenti of Dover; Edward Boyer of Milton; Jim Charney of Felton; Dan Mihok of Camden; Bart Wilson of Dover; Matt Dotterer of Milton; Jeff Wilson of Clayton; Guy Cooper of Millville; and, Nathaniel Sommers of Smyrna.

Delaware Forest Service employee Guy Cooper of Milton mobilized with the Delaware crew that departed Blackbird State Forest on August 25.
The Delaware Forest Service’s Guy Cooper of Milton mobilized with the team of firefighters that departed Blackbird State Forest.

 

The wildfire crew members listen to their operational briefing from crew boss Erich Burkentine of Milton, a regional forester with the Delaware Forest Service.
The crew members get an operational briefing from crew boss Erich Burkentine of Milton, a regional forester with the Delaware Forest Service.

Allen Austin Gardner-Bowler of Milford, a rookie making his first trip with a Delaware wildfire crew, packs his gear.
Allen Austin Gardner-Bowler of Milford, a rookie making his first trip with a Delaware wildfire crew, packs his gear.


Delaware wildfire crew headed to Rocky Mountains

SMYRNA, Del. (July 25, 2016) – The Delaware Forest Service is sending a team of 20 wildland firefighters to the Rocky Mountain region for a scheduled two-week assignment to battle wildfires for the National Interagency Fire Center. The crew departed Blackbird State Forest this morning and is headed to Denver, Colorado to be “pre-positioned” for a specific assignment. On July 25, the NIFC’s National Preparedness Level was increased to 3 on a 5-point scale, a reflection of increased fire activity nationwide as well as hot and dry weather conditions across most of the West. Currently, 26 large fires have burned more than 232,000 acres in 12 states. Four new large fires were reported yesterday in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida and Wyoming.

Delaware wildfire crew at Blackbird State Forest: Front Row: (from left) Todd W. Shaffer of Smithsburg, MD; Samual L. Topper of Federalsburg, MD; Christopher S. Riale of New Castle; Monica Testa of Newark; Adam N. Keever of Newark; Alexander J. Jenks of Rehoboth Beach. Back Row: (from left) William T. Seybold of Dover; Charles D. Collins of Newark; Todd D. Gsell of Townsend; Nathaniel J. Sommers of Smyrna; Daryl D. Trotman of Milford; Scott A. Veasey of Millsboro; Zachary R. Brown of Harbeson; Spencer F. Valenti of Dover; Bartholomew D. Wilson of Dover; Jeffrey A. Wilson of Clayton; Daniel A. Mihok of Camden; Michael L. Krumrine of Magnolia; Laura K. Yowell of Trappe, MD; and, Christopher R. Valenti of Dover.
Delaware wildfire crew at Blackbird State Forest: Front Row: (from left) Todd W. Shaffer of Smithsburg, MD; Samual L. Topper of Federalsburg, MD; Christopher S. Riale of New Castle; Monica Testa of Newark; Adam N. Keever of Newark; Alexander J. Jenks of Rehoboth Beach. Back Row: (from left) William T. Seybold of Dover; Charles D. Collins of Newark; Todd D. Gsell of Townsend; Nathaniel J. Sommers of Smyrna; Daryl D. Trotman of Milford; Scott A. Veasey of Millsboro; Zachary R. Brown of Harbeson; Spencer F. Valenti of Dover; Bartholomew D. Wilson of Dover; Jeffrey A. Wilson of Clayton; Daniel A. Mihok of Camden; Michael L. Krumrine of Magnolia; Laura K. Yowell of Trappe, MD; and, Christopher R. Valenti of Dover.

 

Preparedness Level 3 means that “two (2) or more Geographic Areas are experiencing wildland or prescribed fire activities requiring a major commitment of National Resources. Additional resources are being ordered and mobilized through NICC. Type 1 and 2 Incident Management Teams are committed in two (2) or more Geographic Areas and crew commitment nationally is at 50%.” Currently, the Great Basin Area is at a “4”, the Rocky Mountain Area is at “3”, and Southern California is at “3”. The Rocky Mountain Area reported 20 new fires, two new large incidents, and five uncontained large fires. It currently has one Type 1 incident management team in place along with two Type 2 incident teams. Type 1 is the team that handles the most complex and challenging types of wildfires, including those that pose the greatest threat to lives and property.

 

From left, Spencer Valenti of Dover, Daryl Trotman of Milford, Zachary Brown of Harbeson load their gear on the bus before departing on the crew's trip to Denver to fight wildfires in the West.
From left, Spencer Valenti of Dover, Daryl Trotman of Milford, and Zachary Brown of Harbeson load their gear on the bus before departing on the crew’s trip to Denver to fight wildfires in the West.

 

From left, Christopher Riale of New Castle, Charles Collins of Newark, and Bill Seybold of Dover pack their firefighting gear on the bus before the trip out West to fight wildfires in the Rocky Mountain region.
From left, Christopher Riale of New Castle, Charles Collins of Newark, and Bill Seybold of Dover pack their firefighting gear on the bus before the trip out West to fight wildfires in the Rocky Mountain region.

 

From left, Todd Shaffer briefs firefighters Scott Veasey of Millsboro, Adam Keever of Newark, Alexander Jenks of Rehoboth Beach, Charles Collins of Newark,
From left, Todd Shaffer briefs firefighters Scott Veasey of Millsboro, Adam Keever of Newark, Alexander Jenks of Rehoboth Beach, Charles Collins of Newark, Todd Gsell of Townsend, Bart Wilson of Dover, Daryl Trotman of Milford, and Bill Seybold of Dover.

 

Crew boss Sam Topper of the Delaware Forest Service is leading a 20-person team that is headed to the Rocky Mountains on a two-week assignment to battle wildfires in the West.
Crew boss Sam Topper of the Delaware Forest Service is leading a 20-person team from the First State on a two-week assignment to battle wildfires in the West.

Delaware has been dispatching a crew almost every year since 1998.  Last year, Delaware sent a team to battle the 36,500-acre Fork Complex Fire in northern California. Firefighters are a mix of public agency employees, recruits from volunteer fire companies, and private citizens with a keen interest in fighting wildfires. This year, four are from the Delaware Forest Service, two from DNREC Division of State Parks, one from U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Prime Hook Wildlife Area, and one from New Castle County. Six crew members are “rookies” – i.e., marking their first assignment on a wildfire crew.

Firefighters must prepare both mentally and physically for the annual fire season and achieve certification by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.  In addition to annual training courses held in the spring, crew must complete a rigorous work-capacity test by carrying 45-pounds over a three-mile course in less than 45 minutes. Although compensated by federal funds, all members volunteer for what could become a perilous mission.  Crews also helped hurricane relief efforts for the FEMA when Hurricane Irene swept through New England.

 

Contact: Kyle Hoyd, Delaware Forest Service, kyle.hoyd@delaware.gov or 302-698-4548.

Delaware Wildland Fire Crew Members and Hometowns

Name Hometown
Samual L. Topper (Crew Boss) Federalsburg, MD
Todd W. Shaffer Smithsburg, MD
Michael L. Krumrine Magnolia
Scott A. Veasey Millsboro
Todd D. Gsell Townsend
Bartholomew D. Wilson Dover
Jeffrey A. Wilson Clayton
Adam N. Keever Newark
Daryl D. Trotman Milford
William T. Seybold Dover
Nathaniel J. Sommers Smyrna
Daniel A. Mihok Camden
Alexander J. Jenks Rehoboth Beach
Laura K. Yowell (R) Trappe, MD
Christopher R. Valenti (R) Dover
Spencer F. Valenti (R) Dover
Zachary R. Brown (R) Harbeson
Christopher S. Riale (R) New Castle
Charles D. Collins (R) Newark
Monica L. Testa Newark