Delaware wildfire crew returns after successful trip

Delaware’s wildland fire crew has returned safely to the First State after successfully battling wildfires in Colorado and Wyoming. The team arrived by bus early Friday morning at Blackbird State Forest near Smyrna just after 7 a.m.

The Delaware Forest Service dispatched the firefighters to Colorado on July 25. Their first assignment was assisting Colorado’s Bureau of Land Management on the 492-acre Milk Fire near Craig, Colorado. Next, they were sent by the Rocky Mountain Geographic Area Coordination Center to the 1,287-acre Tokewanna Fire near Mountain View, Wyoming. Finally, on August 4, they were dispatched to the 12,276-acre Whit Fire, located east of Yellowstone National Park near Cody, Wyoming. On the Whit Fire, Delaware’s team worked with more than 600 personnel as they constructed hand line, patrolled fire lines, and protected structures. As of August 10, the fire was at 85 percent containment.

 

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

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.

 

Delaware's wildfire crew on the Tokewanna Fire in southwest Wyoming: (left to right): Michael Krumrine, Laura Yowell, Daniel Mihok, Christopher Valenti, and Nathaniel Sommers,
Delaware’s wildfire crew work on the Tokewanna Fire in southwest Wyoming: (left to right) Michael Krumrine, Laura Yowell, Daniel Mihok, Christopher Valenti, and Nathaniel Sommers. (Photo by InciWeb.)

 

A photo of the Delaware wildfire crew on Wyoming's Tokewanna Fire was posted on Instagram today by crew representative Nikki Testa. Pictured are (from left to right) Todd Shaffer, Sam Topper, Daryl Trotman, Spencer Valenti, and Bart Wilson. Firefighters continue to make good progress on the fire. Crews are continuing to mop-up and remove hazard trees in and around structures in the Tokewanna Estates subdivision and beginning the process of back-hauling firefighting equipment from the area. (Photo by Nikki Testa, DFS)
A photo of the Delaware wildfire crew on Wyoming’s Tokewanna Fire taken on August 2. Pictured are (from left to right): Todd Shaffer, Sam Topper, Daryl Trotman, Spencer Valenti, and Bart Wilson. Firefighters made good progress as they continued to mop-up and remove hazard trees in and around structures in the Tokewanna Estates subdivision. (Photo by Nikki Testa, Delaware Forest Service)

 

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.


Update on Delaware Forest Service wildfire crew in California

The Delaware Forest Service’s Samual Topper patrols the fire line on the Peak Fire south of Hayfork, California. The 706-acre blaze is one of dozens of wildfires started by lightning from July 29 to 31 that are part of the 11,862-acre Fork Complex. A team of Delaware firefighters is working alongside 1,165 personnel on the incident.

 

HAYFORK, Calif. (Aug. 6, 2015)  A team of 20 wildland firefighters under the direction of the Delaware Forest Service is working with 1,165 personnel currently battling the Fork Complex, a group of lightning-caused fires near Hayfork, California that totals 11,862 acres but is only 7 percent contained. Fire resources on the Fork Complex include 26 crews, 4 helicopters, 128 engines, 30 dozers, and 30 water tenders with road closures and evacuations in effect for the area. California officials declared a state of emergency late last week due to the widespread wildfires that have burned upwards of 190,000 acres.

For the past two days, Delaware’s crew has been working on the Peak Fire, a 706-acre blaze burning on Plummer Peak, south of the town near Highway 3. According to fire officials, Delaware’s job is to “Establish indirect control lines” and “Hold and patrol established lines.”

Kyle Hoyd, the Delaware Forest Service’s assistant forestry administrator, summarized the crew’s effort: “We did a burnout with two engine teams on the Peak Fire off of a dozer line and put hand line around several structures in the same area.” Earlier in the week, Hoyd reported that “everyone is doing well” but the “fire is in steep terrain with multiple hazards.”

The crew’s hard work and effort has been paying off. According to the U.S. Forest Service, “The Peak fire was active throughout the day with continued burning to the west; crews remained in place protecting structures (homes, residences, and out buildings). Significant progress was made with a dozer line completion on the northwest division of the fire, east of Highway 3.”

Crews might not get relief from the weather forecast. Officials say that “Warm and dry conditions will continue through the end of the week and as the smoke inversion begins to clear; this presents the possibility of more direct heat in and around the fire areas as well as more intense burning.”

The Delaware Forest Service also dispatched James Dowd from Blackbird State Forest to work as an equipment manager on the Mad River Complex, along with Michael Nelson of Pennsylvania, who is assigned to the Reynolds Fire in Montana.

Fork Complex DES1 (1)
Scott Veasey of Millsboro and Todd Gsell of Townsend are part of a 20-person wildfire crew from Delaware that is battling the 11,862-acre Fork Complex Fire near Hayfork, California. Here they are working along a fire line created by a bulldozer used to contain the blaze.

Fork Complex DES1 (2)
Delaware’s widland fire crew is holding and patrolling a fireline near Plummer Peak south of Hayfork, California. The team is part of 1,165 personnel battling the 11,862-acre Fork Complex, a group of lightning-caused wildfires that ignited in the area from July 29 to 31. Hot weather and prolonged drought have helped fuel the blazes. California declared a state of emergency late last week.

 

Fork Complex_Aug 5 (3)
Starting second from left: Doug Rawling of Newark, Nicholas and Christopher Sturm of Hamburg, PA, and Jennifer DeCarlo of Felton construct a hand line as part of firefighting efforts on the Fork Complex, an 11,862-acre group of lightning-caused fires burning near Hayfork, California.

 


Delaware wildfire crew fighting blazes in N. California

Front Row (from left) Kiera Westfall of Philadelphia, PA, Jennifer DeCarlo of Felton, Nicholas Sturm and Christopher Sturm of Hamburg, PA, Samual Topper of Federalsburg, MD, and Guy Cooper of Millville.  Second Row (from left) - Erich Burkentine of Milton, Katrina Rothbart of Magnolia, Daniel Mihok of Magnolia, Monica Testa of Newark, Alexander Pratt of Ambler, PA, Kyle Hoyd of Felton, and Matt Paul of Bear. Back Row (from left) - Jeffery Wilson of Clayton, Michael Krumrine of Magnolia, Andrew 'Doug' Rawling of Newark, Adam Keever of Newark, Todd Shafffer of Smithsburg, MD, and Todd Gsell of Townsend.
Front Row (from left) Kiera Westfall of Philadelphia, PA, Jennifer DeCarlo of Felton, Nicholas Sturm and Christopher Sturm of Hamburg, PA, Samual Topper of Federalsburg, MD, and Guy Cooper of Millville. Second Row (from left) – Erich Burkentine of Milton, Katrina Rothbart of Magnolia, Daniel Mihok of Magnolia, Monica Testa of Newark, Alexander Pratt of Ambler, PA, Kyle Hoyd of Felton, Todd Gsell of Townsend, and Matthew Paul of Bear. Back Row (from left) – Jeffery Wilson of Clayton, Michael Krumrine of Magnolia, Andrew ‘Doug’ Rawling of Newark, Adam Keever of Newark, and Todd Shaffer of Smithsburg, MD (Not pictured: Scott Veasey of Millsboro).

Hayfork1

Flickr Album: Photos from crew departure at Blackbird State Forest on Saturday, August 1.

The Delaware Forest Service has joined with four 20-person crews from Maryland (1), Ohio (1) and Pennsylvania (2) to  fight a wave of lightning-caused wildfires around Hayfork, California in the area of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. California has declared a state of emergency and the Northern California Region is now at its maximum Preparedness Level of 5 on a 5-point scale. Delaware’s team is part of almost 1,500 personnel currently assigned to an incident known as the Fork Complex, which consists of approximately 40 fires totaling more than 25,000 acres located near Hayfork, CA. All of the blazes were ignited by lightning between July 29 and 31, 2015 and are currently listed as only 5 percent contained. Due to the evolving nature and complexity of the firefighting operation, a Type I Incident Management Team was to assume command of the Fork Complex on August 3, including all the fires around Hayfork, including the Blue, Deer, Rail, Farmer, and Barker Fires.

According to fire officials, the blazes have forced several evacuations and road closures. The Red Cross has established an evacuation center at the Solid Rock Christian Church at the intersection of State Route 3 and Tule Creek Road in Hayfork. The Salvation Army is also offering water and meals to residents at the Church, whether or not they are staying at the evacuation center.

Delaware's wildfire crew was on the scene in California yesterday awaiting orders from the incident command post. Pictured from left: Alex Pratt, Doug Rawlings, Guy Cooper, Adam Keever, Mike Krumrine, Jeff Wilson, and Todd Shaffer.
Delaware’s wildfire crew was on the scene in California yesterday awaiting orders from its incident command post. Pictured from left: Alex Pratt, Doug Rawlings, Guy Cooper, Adam Keever, Mike Krumrine, Jeff Wilson, and Todd Shaffer. (Photo by Kyle Hoyd).

 


Update: First State firefighters battle blaze in Idaho’s Payette National Forest

Status Update from Payette National Forest

With the National Fire Preparedness Level hitting the maximum of 5 on a 5-point scale for the first time since 2008, a crew of 19 wildland firefighters trained by the Delaware Forest Service are on the front lines of a fire in Idaho’s Payette National Forest. U.S. Forest Service officials say the Delaware crew is now assigned to the Howard Fire, a small blaze ignited by lighting in the rugged terrain east of Riggins, Idaho and south of the Salmon River.

 

 

Delaware's wildfire crew is assigned to the Howard Fire in Idaho's Payette National Forest - east of Riggins, Idaho.
Delaware’s wildfire crew is assigned to the Howard Fire in Idaho’s Payette National Forest – east of Riggins, Idaho.

Information on Howard Fire

The Howard Fire is located 8 miles east of Riggins, Idaho on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land under protection of the Payette National Forest and is being managed by the Payette National Forest. It was started by lightning on August 18. The fire is currently around 200 acres but expected to grow – characterized by multiple tree torching and active surface fire spread.. Fire crews and aerial resources are focused on the north flank of the fire to provide a containment line to prevent further fire spread into Elk Horn Creek. Total personnel on the fire: 125.

 Trail closures will be in effect for Broken Leg Trail and Lava Butte Trail – both are motorized ATV trails.

 Current weather at the fire: wind –  10 mph SW; temperature – 92 degrees; humidity – 18%

Payette National Forest, U.S. Forest Service
800 West Lakeside Ave.
McCall, ID 83638

Incident Contact: Brian Harris
Phone: 208-634-6945

Twitter: @PayetteForest #HowardFire @DelawareForests @inciweb
Facebook: www.facebook.com/delforestservice

Aerial view of Idaho's Howard Fire
Aerial view of Idaho’s Howard Fire at 3:00pm on August 20, 2013

Contact: John Petersen, DFS Community Relations Officer
john.petersen@delaware.gov
302-698-4552 (office) 302-233-8180 (cell)


Delaware firefighters now headed to Coin Mountain Fire in Idaho’s Payette National Forest

Contact: John Petersen, DFS Community Relations Officer
john.petersen@delaware.gov
302-698-4552 (office) 302-233-8180 (cell)

Delaware wildland fire crew update:

Delaware's wildfire crew is headed to Idaho to battle the Coin Mountain Fire, a new fire in the Payette National Forest.
Delaware’s fire crew is headed to the Coin Mountain Fire in Idaho’s Payette National Forest.

A team of Delaware volunteer firefighters who have been battling a blaze in Utah for the past week are now headed to a new assignment: the Coin Mountain Fire in the Payette National Forest near McCall, Idaho. According to Delaware state forester Michael Valenti of Dover, who is traveling with the team, Delaware’s contingent might be one of the first crews to battle the blaze, which was just reported on August 19. The crew will be traveling over 500 miles from Utah to Idaho on August 20, and then begin its first operational period on August 21.

According to a news report from www.boiseweekly.com, “Payette National Forest fire crews reported a new wildfire Aug. 19 near Coin Mountain in the Frank Church River area of No Return Wilderness. Officials said the fire will be challenging because of dry fuels down into Big Creek.”

Since it was called to duty on August 11, the team of 19 Delaware firefighters has been battling the 31,000-acre Patch Springs Fire near Terra, Utah – now listed at over 71 percent contained – due in large part to the efforts of over 350 personnel who helped bring it under control. Twenty firefighters made the trip out West; however, one Delaware firefighter returned to the First State over the past weekend due to illness.

Another blaze in the same area of Idaho – the Thunder City Fire – is estimated at over 11,800 acres in size but only 15 percent contained because the difficulty of the terrain is considered “extreme.”

 

Media are free to re-print photos from the Forest Service’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/delforestservice – please credit the appropriate photographer, thank you.

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