A 20-person team of wildland firefighters departed Sunday from Blackbird State Forest in Smyrna to Utah in response to increased fire activity.
This is the second crew the Delaware Forest Service has dispatched this summer; the first team was sent to battle an 85,000-acre blaze near North Pole, Alaska in July.
The crew will be "pre-positioned" in Utah before its likely assignment to a fire in the Eastern Great Basin region.
The crew boarded a flight to Salt Lake City, Utah from Harrisburg, Pa. Monday morning.
The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise Idaho has increased its National Preparedness Level to 4 on a 5-point scale, in response to the fact that "36 wildfires are burning in eight western states and Alaska and nine new large fires have been reported in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Wyoming."
A Preparedness Level IV is triggered under the following conditions:
- Three or more Geographic Areas are experiencing incidents requiring Type 1 and 2 IMTs.
- Competition exists between Geographic Areas.
- Nationally, 60 percent of Type 1 and 2 IMTs and crews are committed.
Local firefighters Tyler Torres, of Smyrna; Jeffrey Wilson, of Clayton; Kyle Kokoszka, of Middletown; Brian Keszler, of Middletown; and Todd Gsell, of Townsend, are part of the 20-person crew.