More Delaware firefighters heading out West to control wildfires
A forest service team led by a Delaware firefighter will be heading out this weekend to deal with the ongoing wildfires in the West.
John Petersen, community relations officer at the Delaware Forest Service, said that state forester Michael Valenti of Dover will be leading a team from the Maryland Forest Service.
“Maryland needs a crew boss and since our state forester is a veteran crew boss, he’s going to lead that crew," said Petersen.
That team, which will also include Valenti’s son, will mobilize on Saturday to fight fires a region covering parts of Montana and the northern Rockies.
The Delaware Forest Service sent out a team earlier this month to fight the Fork Complex Fire. This is a blaze covering nearly 28,000 acres in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest close to Hayfork, California. The Delaware firefighters are among the almost 2,400 personnel have been battling a fire that’s now 26 percent contained. The 20-person crew will soon complete their two-week assignment and could return home as soon as August 16.
The Fork Complex Fire is one of several fires in the region that span over 223,000 acres. Petersen said that there aren’t any plans yet to send another team from the First State's forest service. But there is a possibility, given that the National Interagency Fire Center raised its National Preparedness Level to the maximum of 5 on a 5-point scale as of Thursday.
“Given that it’s at a 5 right now, I think we might bend our rules or be more accommodating because there’s such a great need right now. We definitely want to meet the need if we can," said Petersen.