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Delaware crew fighting wildfire in Arizona

A 21-member Delaware Forest Service wildfire crew is spending the next week-and-a-half in Arizona to help battle a blaze in the Tonto National Forest.


Delaware’s wildfire crew left the First State last week and initially deployed to New Mexico to help battle several lightning-caused fires.

Those blazes were quickly brought under control and the crew was re-deployed to Globe, Arizona Monday to battle the Griffin fire.

“Over the past several weeks, the Southwest area - Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada - have experienced high fire danger. And it’s actually really elevated due to dry lightning going through those areas,” said Kyle Hoyd, assistant forestry administrator with the Department of Agriculture Forest Service.


Hoyd adds other factors make it a dangerous situation.


"Given the temperatures and the drought conditions that they’re in, which is very unseasonal at this time - because they’re normally in monsoon season right now - it sparked a whole bunch of new starts and the fire," said Hoyd. "The Griffin fire is actually a combination of three different fires that all merged together making this larger fire, which is now at just over 61,000-acres.”



Hoyd also explains the work the 21-member crew is doing to help get the blazes unde control.


"[It's] initially, initial attack activity because there are only seven other crews on that entire (fire) that region that they are working in. So they are going to have their work cut out for them,” Hoyd said.

Hoyd says the initial attack activity includes doing burnout operations,  line prep and chasing hot spots.

He says the crew is also responsible for making sure contained edges of the fire stay that way and do not jump out of the area and reignite.

Hoyd noted that the fire was about 77% contained as of Monday.


Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.