Delaware crew lends its efforts to California wildfires battle

Scott Veasey of Millsboro and Todd Gsell of Townsend are part of a 20-person wildfire crew from Delaware that is battling the 11,862-acre Fork Complex Fire near Hayfork, California. Delaware’s crew worked along a fire line created by a bulldozer used to contain the blaze. (Photo by Kyle Hoyd, Delaware Forest Service)

Scott Veasey of Millsboro and Todd Gsell of Townsend are part of a 20-person wildfire crew from Delaware that is battling the 11,862-acre Fork Complex Fire near Hayfork, California. Delaware’s crew worked along a fire line created by a bulldozer used to contain the blaze. (Photo by Kyle Hoyd, Delaware Forest Service)

HAYFORK, Calif. — A team of 20 wildland firefighters under the direction of the Delaware Forest Service is working with 1,165 personnel currently battling the Fork Complex, a group of lightning-caused fires near Hayfork, Calif., that totals 11,862 acres.

Only 7 percent of the fires are contained. Fire resources on the Fork Complex include 26 crews, four helicopters, 128 engines, 30 bulldozers and 30 water tenders. Roads are closed and evacuations in effect. California officials declared a state of emergency late last week due to the widespread wildfires that have burned upward of 190,000 acres.

Delaware’s widland fire crew is holding and patrolling a fireline near Plummer Peak south of Hayfork, California. The team is part of 1,165 personnel battling the 11,862-acre Fork Complex, a group of lightning-caused wildfires that ignited in the area from July 29 to 31. Hot weather and prolonged drought have helped fuel the blazes. California declared a state of emergency late last week.

Delaware’s widland fire crew is holding and patrolling a fireline near Plummer Peak south of Hayfork, California. The team is part of 1,165 personnel battling the 11,862-acre Fork Complex, a group of lightning-caused wildfires that ignited in the area from July 29 to 31. Hot weather and prolonged drought have helped fuel the blazes. California declared a state of emergency late last week.

The Delaware Forest Service reported Thursday that Delaware’s crew has been working on the Peak Fire, a 706-acre blaze burning on Plummer Peak, south of the town. According to fire officials, Delaware’s job is to “establish indirect control lines” and “hold and patrol established lines.”

Kyle Hoyd, the Delaware Forest Service’s assistant forestry administrator, is helping to fight the fires, summarized the crew’s effort: “We did a burnout with two engine teams on the Peak Fire off of a dozer line and put hand line around several structures in the same area.”

Earlier in the week, Mr. Hoyd reported that “everyone is doing well” but the “fire is in steep terrain with multiple hazards.”

The crew’s hard work and effort have been paying off. According to the U.S. Forest Service, “The Peak fire was active throughout the day with continued burning to the west; crews remained in place protecting structures (homes, residences, and out buildings). Significant progress was made with a dozer line completion on the northwest division of the fire, east of Highway 3.”

Crews might not get relief from the weather forecast.

According to officials, warm and dry conditions will continue through the end of the week.

“As the smoke inversion begins to clear; this presents the possibility of more direct heat in and around the fire areas as well as more intense burning,” according to an official

The Delaware Forest Service also has dispatched James Dowd from Blackbird State Forest to work as an equipment manager on the Mad River Complex, along with Michael Nelson of Pennsylvania, who is assigned to the Reynolds Fire in Montana.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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