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Delaware Forest Service sending crew out west to battle wildfires

Delaware Forest Service
Christopher Riale of New Castle (left), Charles Collins of Newark and Bill Seybold of Dover pack their firefighting gear on the bus before the trip out West to fight wildfires in the Rocky Mountain region.

Delaware wildland firefighters are headed to Denver this week to battle wildfires for The National Interagency Fire Center.

Data from the NIFC shows the Rocky Mountain area reported 20 new fires, two new large incidents and five uncontained fires on Monday.


Kyle Hoyd, the assistant forestry administrator for the Delaware Forest Service said the 20-person team is expected to land in Denver at 7:30 p.m. Mountain Time.


They will work for 14 days to help build a fire line, reduce fuels around homes, provide structural protection and more.


“Our main purpose and the reason we train these individuals and the reason we spend so much time investing time in these folks is to help benefit the western need when we’re called upon," Hoyd said. "The big thing for us is to be able to provide trained personnel in the time of need."


2015 data from the NIFC shows there were over 34,000 fires, burning over 5.5 million acres, a record wildfire year for the United States in terms of the amount of acres impacted.


"Being able to provide an eastern resource when we don't necessarily have that burden, it's gratifying to be able to give back to other states that are in need," Hoyd said.


The NIFC’s national preparedness level for the Denver region has reached level 3, effective 2 p.m. Mountain Time. Hoyd said this means activity has increased and more resources are being called to the scene.

The Delaware crew is one of the only east coast crews to be called to Denver so far.