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 Forest Service seeking motivated recruits for wildfire training

A wildfire crew from the Delaware Forest Service battled the Bugg Road Fire near Tonasket, Washington in July of 2014
A team of wildland firefighters sponsored by the Delaware Forest Service battled the Bugg Road Fire near Tonasket, Washington in the summer of 2014. The DFS is looking for qualified and motivated candidates to enroll in wildfire training classes that begin in January at the Delaware State Fire School in Dover. For information, go to http://de.gov/wildfire or call Kyle Hoyd at (302) 698-4548.

 

The Delaware Forest Service (DFS) is seeking qualified and motivated candidates for its wildfire training classes at the Delaware State Fire School. Applicants should be at least 18 years of age, physically and mentally fit, motivated to learn, and willing and able to travel for up to two weeks or more (usually during the summer months) for out-of-state fire assignments. Previous firefighting experience is not required.

While volunteer firefighters can register through their own fire company, those without prior firefighting experience must contact Kyle Hoyd, DFS Wildland Fire Program, by phone: (302) 698-4548  or email: kyle.hoyd@delaware.gov to get authorization before enrolling in the classes. The deadline for course registration is January 3, 2015.

The first set of wildfire training classes: “S-190, I-100, and PMS-416,” will be held on Saturday and Sunday, January 24 and 25,  from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at the Delaware State Fire School, 1461 Chestnut Grove Rd, Dover, DE 19904, 302-739-4773. The second set of classes, “S-130: Basic Wildland Firefighting,” will be taught at the Fire School over the course of two weekends: February 28 and March 1, and also March 7 and 8, 2015, from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. each day.  The cost of S-190, I-100, and PMS-416 (January) is $50 (includes lunch both days) and the cost of S-130 (March) is $100 (includes lunch every day), with remittance payable to the “Delaware State Fire School.”

Registration Form*(PDF)
2015 Training Schedule* (PDF)

Both S-190 and S-130 are required for prospective firefighters to attain “red-card” certification from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG), the lead agency for wildfire training in the United States.   In addition to basic coursework, candidates must also complete a rigorous “work capacity” or “pack test,” which involves carrying a 45-pound pack over a three-mile course in less than 45 minutes. The capstone of the wildfire training series is the Delaware Forest Service’s annual “Fire Camp,” which will be held on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at Redden State Forest in Georgetown, Sussex County. The one-day seminar features intensive, hand-on training in a range of wildland firefighting tools and strategies, culminated by a “live-burn” exercise designed to simulate conditions on an actual fire assignment.

To fully complete the entire training series, potential candidates must register for S-190 by the January 3, 2015 deadline.

One of Delaware's wildfire crews spent two weeks in the summer of 2014 battling fires in Washington State.
One of Delaware’s wildfire crews spent two weeks in the summer of 2014 battling fires in Washington State.

Delaware’s wildland fire program is coming off another successful year: in 2014, the Delaware dispatched two 20-person teams to out-of-state assignments through the National Interagency Fire Center: one crew traveled to Oregon to battle wildfires in July while another crew was sent to the West in August to battle fires in Washington and Oregon .  Trained and dispatched by the Delaware Department of Agriculture Forest Service, wildfire crews are comprised of men and women of varying ages and backgrounds who represent a mix of public agencies, nonprofit groups, volunteer fire companies, and private citizens—all with an interest in firefighting and a desire to help their communities.

Despite its small size, Delaware has an outstanding reputation on the national firefighting scene and was honored by Governor Markell during the celebration of National Fire Prevention Month in October. Since the program’s inception in the 1990s, the First State has also sent personnel to aid in other national or regional emergencies, such as hurricane relief crews in Florida and New York.

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Delaware sends second wildfire crew to western United States

Back Row (from left): Michael Valenti of Dover, Scott Veasey of Millsboro, Nathaniel Sommers of Smyrna, Jeff Wilson of Clayton, Erich Burkentine of Milton, James Charney of Felton, Doug Rawling of Newark, Chris Miller of Bowers Beach, William Seyvbold of Dover, and Katrina Rothbart of Magnolia. Front Row (from left): Nikki Testa of Newark, Jennifer DeCarlo of Felton, Ryan Kennard of Clayton, Christopher Sturm of Hamburg, PA, Tyaire Ferrell of Wilmington, Daniel Mihok of Magnolia, Eric McLaughlin of Newark, Amber Havrilla of Felton, and Jeremy Simms of Port Penn.
Back Row (from left): Michael Valenti of Dover, Scott Veasey of Millsboro, Nathaniel Sommers of Smyrna, Jeff Wilson of Clayton, Erich Burkentine of Milton, James Charney of Felton, Doug Rawling of Newark, Chris Miller of Bowers Beach, William Seybold of Dover, and Katrina Rothbart of Magnolia. Front Row (from left): Nikki Testa of Newark, Jennifer DeCarlo of Felton, Ryan Kennard of Clayton, Christopher Sturm of Hamburg, PA, Tyaire Ferrell of Wilmington, Daniel Mihok of Magnolia, Eric McLaughlin of Newark, Amber Havrilla of Felton, and Jeremy Simms of Port Penn.

High-resolution images on Delaware Forest Service’s Facebook Photo Album

DOVER – The Delaware Forest Service has sent a second wildfire crew to the western United States as 41 active large fires are burning over 700,000 acres across five western states, with most concentrated in California, Oregon, and Washington, with 10 each. So far this year, a total of 35,751 fires have burned over 2.5 million acres nationwide.

Twenty firefighters under the direction of the Delaware Forest Service will serve a two-week assignment to fight wildfires for the National Interagency Fire Center beginning with their trip to Redmond, Oregon for positioning before a likely assignment in the Pacific Northwest or Northern California. A team from Delaware recently returned on August 5 from a two-week assignment in the state of Washington.

Delaware’s crew mobilized at Blackbird State Forest in Smyrna on Wednesday, August 13. The team – comprised of public agency staff, volunteer firefighters, and private citizens – will be led by State Forester Michael A. Valenti of Dover, a veteran of previous out-of-state assignments.

The crew’s departure coincides with a peak in fire activity in the West. The National Fire Preparedness Level is currently 4 on a 5-point scale due to increased wildfire activity in the western U.S.  http://www.nifc.gov

For more information, contact John Petersen 302-233-8180 (cell)

 


Delaware sending wildfire crew to Utah in response to large fires in West

Contact: John Petersen, Delaware Forest Service Community Relations Officer
john.petersen@delaware.gov
(302) 233-8180 – cell

Click here for photo album from DES#2 – Fire crew mobilization at Blackbird State Forest on Sunday, August 11.

Delaware Forest Service wildfire crew
After battling a wildfire in Alaska in July, the Delaware Forest Service has again fielded a 20-person volunteer crew, now headed to Utah to await assignment to a fire in that region.
Back row (from left) are: Samual L. Topper of Federalsburg, MD; Monica Testa of Wilmington; Michael Krumrine of Magnolia; Scott A. Veasey of Millsboro; Guy W. Cooper of Millville; Tyler S. Torres of Smyrna; Jonathan E. Stave of Newark; Brian K. Ward Jeffrey A. Wilson of Clayton; Todd W. Shaffer of Atglen, PA; Front row (from left) Luke S. Terrell of Salisbury, MD; Kyle M. Kokoszka of Middletown; Todd Gsell of Townsend; William K. Ruark of Towson, MD; Brian P. Keszler of Middletown; Robert S. Baldwin of Chestertown, MD; Bartholomew D. Wilson of Dover; Matthew Chamberlain of Newark; Michael D. Hyde of Havre de Grace, MD; Michael A. Valenti of Dover.

 

In response to increased fire activity in the West, the Delaware Forest Service is sending a 20-person crew of wildland firefighters to Utah.  The crew will be “pre-positioned” there before its likely assignment to a fire in the Eastern Great Basin region. This is the second crew that Delaware has dispatched this summer – the first team was sent to battle an 85,000-acre blaze near North Pole, Alaska in July.

The 20-person team departed at approximately 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 11, from Blackbird State Forest, 502 Blackbird Forest Road, Smyrna, DE, 19977. They will be boarding a flight to Salt Lake City, Utah from Harrisburg, PA on the morning of Monday, August 12.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise Idaho (http://www.nifc.gov) has increased its National Preparedness Level to 4 on a 5-point scale, in response to the fact that “36 wildfires are burning in eight western states and Alaska and nine new large fires have been reported in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Wyoming.”

Kyle M. Kokoszka, a volunteer firefighter from Middletown, packs his gear for the trip out West.
Kyle M. Kokoszka, a volunteer firefighter from Middletown, packs his gear for the trip out West.

Wildfire Crew Members and Hometowns:

 *Crew Boss

Samual L. Topper* Federalsburg, MD
Monica Testa Wilmington
Michael Krumrine Magnolia
Scott A. Veasey Millsboro
Guy W. Cooper Millville
Tyler S. Torres Smyrna
Jonathan E. Stave Newark
Brian K. Ward Houston
Jeffrey A. Wilson Clayton
Todd W. Shaffer Atglen, PA
Luke Spencer Terrell Salisbury, MD
Kyle M. Kokoszka Middletown
Todd Gsell Townsend
William Keegan Ruark Towson, MD
Brian P. Keszler Middletown
Robert S. Baldwin Chestertown, MD
Bartholomew D. Wilson Dover
Matthew Chamberlain Newark
Michael Davis Hyde Havre de Grace, MD
Michael A. Valenti Dover

A Preparedness Level IV is triggered under the following conditions:

  • Three or more Geographic Areas are experiencing incidents requiring Type 1 and 2 IMTs.
  • Competition exists between Geographic Areas.
  • Nationally, 60 percent of Type 1 and 2 IMTs and crews are committed.

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Delaware sends 20-person crew to battle wildfire near North Pole, Alaska

Contact: John Petersen, Delaware Forest Service, 302-233-8180 (cell)

 

Back row (from left): Crew Boss Erich T. Burkentine of Milton, Andrew Douglas Rawlings of Newark, Patrick Gilchrist of Townsend, Robert Baldwin of Chestertown, MD, Tyler Torres of Smyrna, Jonathan E. Stave of Newark, William Seybold of Dover, Brian K. Ward of Houston, James Charney of Felton, and Nathaniel J. Sommers of Smyrna Front row: (from left), Brian McDonald of Bethany Beach, Chris Skrobot of Wilmington, Adam Keever of Port Penn, Nikki Testa of Wilmington, Jonathan Richardville of Claymont, Amber DeCarlo of Felton, Jennifer Decarlo of Felton, Guy Cooper of Millville, Todd Shaffer of Atglen, PA, and  Jeff Wilson of Clayton.
Back row (from left): Crew Boss Erich T. Burkentine of Milton, Andrew Douglas Rawlings of Newark, Patrick Gilchrist of Townsend, Robert Baldwin of Chestertown, MD, Tyler Torres of Smyrna, Jonathan E. Stave of Newark, William Seybold of Dover, Brian K. Ward of Houston, James Charney of Felton, and Nathaniel J. Sommers of Smyrna
Front row: (from left), Brian McDonald of Bethany Beach, Chris Skrobot of Wilmington, Adam Keever of Port Penn, Nikki Testa of Wilmington, Jonathan Richardville of Claymont, Amber DeCarlo of Felton, Jennifer Decarlo of Felton, Guy Cooper of Millville, Todd Shaffer of Atglen, PA, and Jeff Wilson of Clayton.

A crew of 20 wildland firefighters under the direction of the Delaware Forest Service that departed on Friday, July 5 from Blackbird State Forest in Smyrna has joined over 680 personnel working on the 65,000-acre Stuart Creek 2 fire, located 25 miles east of North Pole, Alaska. The blaze is only 5 percent contained and burning through a mix of hardwoods and black spruce. The crew is assigned to a “remote spike camp” and tasked with preparing their own meals from “fresh food boxes” issued by fire officials. Delaware’s firefighters are also making the adjustment to the long hours of daylight typical to an Alaskan summer. Their first operational day on the fire was scheduled to be Monday, July 8.

According to a Monday update from the Eastern Area Coordination Center EACC, “The crew is still in staging at the “Tirebase” spike camp. Morale is high. Daytime temperatures have been in the seventies with nighttime temperatures in the fifties. Precipitation is forecasted for this afternoon and evening.”

Crews typically serve 14 days on the fire line before traveling home.

The National Preparedness Level is now at 3 on a 5-point scale.

The latest fire information on Stuart Creek 2: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3468/

Delaware’s Eastern Area Inter-Agency Resource Representative (IARR) Crew Report:
DES#1: http://gacc.nifc.gov/eacc/logistics/crews/crews_files/iarr_report.pdf

National Incident Management Situation Report: http://www.nifc.gov/nicc/sitreprt.pdf

Image of the 65,000-acre blaze burning near North Pole, Alaska.
Image of the 65,000-acre blaze burning near North Pole, Alaska.

Selected photos from crew mobilization at Blackbird State Forest:

From left, Mother and daughter Jennifer DeCarlo and Amber DeCarlo of Felton are part of the team of 20 firefighters from Delaware battling a 65,000-acre wildfire in Alaska.
(from left) Mother and daughter Jennifer DeCarlo and Amber DeCarlo of Felton are part of the team of 20 firefighters from Delaware now battling a 65,000-acre wildfire in Alaska.

Jeffrey Wilson of Clayton preps his gear for the trip to Alaska as his young son Jeff, daughter Olivia, and wife Theresa look on.
Jeffrey Wilson of Clayton preps his gear for the trip to Alaska as his young son Jeff, daughter Olivia, and wife Theresa look on.

 

(from left) Amber DeCarlo of Felton, Chris Skrobot of Wilmington, Andy "Doug" Rawlings of Newark, and Jim Charney of Felton as they departed from Blackbird State Forest for the trip to battle a wildfire near North Pole, Alaska.
(from left) Amber DeCarlo of Felton, Chris Skrobot of Wilmington, Andy “Doug” Rawlings of Newark, and Jim Charney of Felton get ready to depart from Blackbird State Forest for the trip to battle a wildfire near North Pole, Alaska.

(from left) Adam Keever of Port Penn, Brian McDonald of Bethany Beach, Patrick Gilchrist of Twonsend, and Nikki Testa of Wilmington loaded their gear on a bus before departing for a flight to Alaska to battle a 65,000-acre wildfire.
(from left) Adam Keever of Port Penn, Brian McDonald of Bethany Beach, Patrick Gilchrist of Townsend, and Nikki Testa of Wilmington loaded their gear on a bus before departing for a flight to Alaska to battle a 65,000-acre wildfire near the town of North Pole.

Jonathan Stave of Newark prepares his gear for a two-week assignment with a team of Delaware firefighters battling a 65,000-acre blaze near North Pole, Alaska.
Jonathan Stave of Newark prepares his gear for a two-week assignment with a team of Delaware firefighters battling a 65,000-acre blaze near North Pole, Alaska.