Delaware Wildfire Crew Coming Home Today

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.
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.

Delaware’s wildland fire crew is returning to the First State after successfully battling wildfires in Colorado and Wyoming. The team is flying from Denver to Philadelphia on Thursday and will board a charter bus early Friday morning for the return to Blackbird State Forest near Smyrna around 8 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.

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.
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.

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.

 

Image Credits: State of Delaware, InciWeb, Nikki Testa, Delaware Forest Service

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First State Update's Delaware editorial team covers New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County breaking news, political news, and general news stories. We bring the reader the latest news from the Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Rehoboth Beach and all point in between. If you have news to share, email us at desk@firststateupdate.com.

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