A wildfire crew led by the Delaware Forest Service is almost done with a two-week assignment at the Fork Complex Fire. The team could return to the First State on Aug. 16-17. Almost 2,400 personnel have been battling the fire, now 26 percent contained and covering 27,698 acres near Hayfork, Calif.     Kyle Hoyd reported Wednesday evening: “Yesterday we held line during a burnout operation. Burnout was a success and we are holding it today. If all goes well today, it will be a win.” Fire officials on the scene report that Delaware’s team has “excellent crew morale.” Hoyd is Delaware Forest Service Assistant Forestry Administrator. Delaware state forester and veteran crew boss Michael Valenti of Dover will be leading a crew from Maryland that will mobilize Saturday morning. They are expected to be assigned to fight fires in Montana. Valenti will be accompanied by his son Nathan, on his first firefighting assignment.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, as of August 13 there were 73 uncontained large fires nationwide, and 34 of those were in Northern California. The California fires together cover more than 223,000 acres.

The NIFC increased its National Preparedness Level today to the maximum of 5 on its scale. It means “geographic areas are experiencing major incidents which have the potential to exhaust all agency fire resources. Eighty percent (80%) of Type 1 and Type 2 Incident Management Teams and crews are committed, as well as the majority of other national resources.”

Aitor Bidaburu, chair of the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group said, “Given the continuing hot and dry weather and the increase in fire activity in the western U.S., the decision to move to Preparedness Level 5 depicts the complexity that fire managers are encountering.”

Keep up with the wildfire crew on the Delaware Forest Service Facebook page.