Update: Delaware crew in California as officials increase “National Fire Preparedness Level” to maximum of 5 on a 5-point scale

The Fork Complex Fire in Northern California has burned more than 27,000 acres but is only 26 percent contained. Delaware is part of almost 2,400 personnel fighting the fire.
The Fork Complex Fire in Northern California has burned more than 28,000 acres but is only 26 percent contained. A crew from Delaware is part of almost 2,400 personnel fighting the fire. The California wildfires have prompted fire officials to raise the National Preparedness Level to the maximum of 5 on a 5-point scale. (Photo by Chris Sturm/Delaware Forest Service).

Katrina Rothbart of Magnolia is part of the Delaware crew assigned to the Fork Complex, a wildfire in Northern California's Shasta-Trinity National Forest that has burned more almost 28,000 acres. The crew should return to the First State this weekend.
Katrina Rothbart of Magnolia is part of the Delaware crew assigned to the Fork Complex, a wildfire in Northern California’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest that has burned more than 28,000 acres. The crew should return to the First State this weekend.

A wildfire crew led by the Delaware Forest Service is near completion of a two-week assignment on the Fork Complex Fire, a 28,736-acre blaze near Hayfork, California in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Almost 2,400 personnel are battling the fire that is currently 26 percent contained. The Fork Complex is one of several large wildfires in Northern California that together cover more than 223,000 acres, one of the major factors that prompted the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) to increase its National Preparedness Level today to the maximum of 5 on a 5-point scale, which means that “geographic areas are experiencing major incidents which have the potential to exhaust all agency fire resources. Eighty percent (80%) of Type 1 and Type 2 Incident Management Teams and crews are committed, as well as the majority of other National Resources.” According to Aitor Bidaburu, chair of the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group (NMAC), “A significant amount of initial and extended attack and large fire activity has occurred over the past several days as a result of lightning storms that have intensified local and geographic response,” said  “Given the continuing hot and dry weather and the increase in fire activity in the western U.S., the decision to move to Preparedness Level 5 depicts the complexity that fire managers are encountering to assure that adequate firefighting resources are available for protection of life, property and our nation’s natural resources.” According to the latest NIFC situation report, as of August 13 there were 73 uncontained large fires burning nationwide, of which 34 were located in Northern California.

Delaware's crew start their day on Division R of the Fork Complex Fire in Northern California, which has grown to more than 28,000 acres. (Instagram photo by crew member Nikki Testa of Newark).
Delaware’s crew start their day on Division R of the Fork Complex Fire in Northern California, which has grown to more than 28,000 acres. (Instagram photo by crew member Nikki Testa of Newark).

Jennifer DeCarlo of Felton is part of Delaware's wildfire crew battling the Fork Complex Fire, a blaze that has scorched more than 27,000 acres in Northern California's Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
Jennifer DeCarlo of Felton is part of Delaware’s wildfire crew battling the Fork Complex Fire, which has scorched more than 28,000 acres in Northern California’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

From left, Andrew "Doug" Rawling of Newark is shown with Erich Burkentine of Milton as they work to contain the Fork Copmplex Fire in Northern California's Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Burkentine, the Delaware Forest Service's southern regional forester, is leading the 20-person team from Delaware. team
From left, Andrew “Doug” Rawling of Newark is shown with Erich Burkentine of Milton as they work to contain the Fork Copmplex Fire in Northern California’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Burkentine, the Delaware Forest Service’s southern regional forester, is leading the 20-person team from Delaware. team

Kyle Hoyd of Felton, Delaware Forest Service assistant forestry administrator, is shown on the fire line at the Fork Complex, which has burned more than 28,000 acres in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

DFS Assistant Forestry Administrator Kyle Hoyd filed this report from the Fork Complex on Wednesday evening: “Yesterday we held line during a burnout operation. Burnout was a success and we are holding it today. If all goes well today, it will be a win.” Fire officials on the scene report that Delaware’s team has “excellent crew morale.” With an increasingly high demand for firefighters and resources, Delaware state forester and veteran crew boss Michael Valenti of Dover will be leading a crew from Maryland that will mobilize Saturday morning and is expected to be assigned to fight fires in Montana in the Northern Rockies fire region. Valenti will be accompanied by his son Nathan, who will be on his first firefighting assignment. Delaware’s team could return to the First State on August 16 or August 17, depending on travel arrangements and flight times. Keep up with latest news on the wildfire crew on the Delaware Forest Service Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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).

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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).