A crew of 20 wildland firefighters from the Delaware Forest Service are helping to combat wildfires out west.
The team shipped out to Missoula, Montana on Sunday and received their first assignment: the Copper Mountain Fire in Northwest Idaho nearing the borders of Montana and Canada.
Assistant Forestry Administrator Kyle Hoyd says the crew will be one of the first to battle this new blaze.
“They’re going to be doing initial attack operations on that fire, trying to contain that fire, to keep it small. And hopefully they can put a containment line around that fire to clear it out and move on to the next one”, Hoyd says.
The crew is expected to work about two weeks before returning back home. Hoyd adds, “The general rule of thumb is a minimum of fourteen days working on the line, whether it be, you know, working in the office ordering resources or whether it’s directly on the line battling the fire up front.”
He says the crew spans almost four decades in age and varys in experience. He adds some members are twenty year veterans and others are rookie firefighters and noted that once the crew cleans up Copper Mountain, they will be dispatched elsewhere.
This is Delaware’s second wildfire crew sent out this year. The first spent about two weeks in July fighting fires in the Rocky Mountains.
Nationwide, as of August 5th, 134 active fires are burning a million and a half acres, with almost 600 wildfire crews and 29,000 personnel currently committed to firefighting operations.