Delaware sends wildfire crew to New Mexico
This story has been updated after a notice that the crew's assignment has been changed to only New Mexico.
The Delaware Forest Service’s wildfire crew will set off to battle blazes in New Mexico Friday, Aug. 28.
The group of 21 trained wildland firefighters will meet at Blackbird State Forest in Smyrna at 6 a.m. They will then head west where a steep increase in lightning-caused fires has pushed the National Preparedness Level to 5 on a 5-point scale, its highest level.
The crew’s assignment is tentative and could change based on the conditions and need for resources.
Critical fire weather continues throughout the west, with 10 new large fires reported Aug. 26. The majority of the fire activity remains in Arizona and California, where more than 1.5 million acres have burned. So far this year, 38,767 fires have burned 3.7 million acres, according to the Delaware Forest Service.
Delaware has trained more than 600 firefighters since 1996 and battled wildfires in numerous states, including Alaska, Georgia, California, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and Washington.
The National Interagency Fire Center calls on Delaware at least twice a year to help with fires in the United States. The crew will typically work on an out-of-state wildfire for two weeks.
All volunteers must be at least 18 years old and physically fit. They must pass two courses and a fitness test, which includes carrying 45 pounds three miles in 45 minutes.
For more, visit http://de.gov/wildfire.