Delaware firefighters battling California blazes

The Delaware Fire Crew includes (front row, from left) Kiera Westfall of Philadelphia, Jennifer DeCarlo of Felton, Nicholas Sturm and Christopher Sturm of Hamburg, Pa., Samual Topper of Federalsburg, Md., and Guy Cooper of Millville; (second row, from left) Erich Burkentine of Milton, Katrina Rothbart of Magnolia, Daniel Mihok of Magnolia, Monica Testa of Newark, Alexander Pratt of Ambler, Pa., Kyle Hoyd of Felton, Todd Gsell of Townsend and Matthew Paul of Bear; (back row, from left) Jeffery Wilson of Clayton, Michael Krumrine of Magnolia, Andrew “Doug” Rawling of Newark, Adam Keever of Newark and Todd Shaffer of Smithsburg, Md. Also on the crew is Scott Veasey of Millsboro. Submitted/Delaware Forest Service

The Delaware Fire Crew includes (front row, from left) Kiera Westfall of Philadelphia, Jennifer DeCarlo of Felton, Nicholas Sturm and Christopher Sturm of Hamburg, Pa., Samual Topper of Federalsburg, Md., and Guy Cooper of Millville; (second row, from left) Erich Burkentine of Milton, Katrina Rothbart of Magnolia, Daniel Mihok of Magnolia, Monica Testa of Newark, Alexander Pratt of Ambler, Pa., Kyle Hoyd of Felton, Todd Gsell of Townsend and Matthew Paul of Bear; (back row, from left) Jeffery Wilson of Clayton, Michael Krumrine of Magnolia, Andrew “Doug” Rawling of Newark, Adam Keever of Newark and Todd Shaffer of Smithsburg, Md. Also on the crew is Scott Veasey of Millsboro. Submitted/Delaware Forest Service

TOWNSEND — The Delaware Forest Service has joined with four 20-person crews from Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania to help fight a wave of lightning-caused wildfires around Hayfork, California, in the area of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

The wildfire crew left from Blackbird State Forest Saturday.

Delaware’s crew has been assigned to the Fork Complex Fire, a group of wildfires totaling more than 8,000 acres near Hayfork in Trinity County, California.

Todd Gsell of Townsend, Michael Krumrine of Magnolia, Nicholas Sturm of Hamburg, Pa., Jennifer DeCarlo of Felton and Doug Rawling of Newark prepare to board the bus to move to Tuesday’s fire operation in California as Adam Keever of Newark gets his chainsaw ready. (Submitted/Delaware Forest Service/Kyle Hoyd)

Todd Gsell of Townsend, Michael Krumrine of Magnolia, Nicholas Sturm of Hamburg, Pa., Jennifer DeCarlo of Felton and Doug Rawling of Newark prepare to board the bus to move to Tuesday’s fire operation in California as Adam Keever of Newark gets his chainsaw ready. (Submitted/Delaware Forest Service/Kyle Hoyd)

According to the Delaware Forest Service’s assistant forestry administrator Kyle Hoyd, the 20-person crew was assigned to work Tuesday on the “Peak Fire,” one of more than 40 fires started by lightning from July 29-31.

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

Fire management officials have split the Fork Complex into two separate incidents (Fork Complex and South Complex).

California has declared a state of emergency and placed northern California at Level 5, the maximum preparedness level. Delaware’s team is part of almost 1,500 people currently assigned to fight the Fork Complex fires, which consists of about 40 fires totaling more than 25,000 acres located near Hayfork.

“We will be the only crew working this fire as it is about 20 acres in size,” Mr. Hoyd reported earlier Tuesday.

In a later update, Mr. Hoyd described the situation as “peak fire today” before reporting cellphone reception was fading.

John Petersen, community relations officer for the forest service, explained that the incident referred to by Mr. Hoyd could be the one known as the Mad River Complex, near Pickett Peak. The fires there are threatening cell towers and structures.

According to officials, the fires have forced several evacuations and road closures. The Red Cross has established an evacuation center and The Salvation Army is offering water and meals to residents.

The Delaware crew, including Guy Cooper and Matt Paul, departed from Blackbird State Forest on Saturday.  Submitted/Delaware Forest Service

The Delaware crew, including Guy Cooper and Matt Paul, departed from Blackbird State Forest on Saturday. Submitted/Delaware Forest Service

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

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